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Latest Art News

Miranda July turns corner of Selfridges into interfaith charity shop

Artangel and Miranda July's charity shop at Selfridges (Image: Hugo Glendinning © Artangel)
On the third floor of the Selfridges department store in London, among the Marc Jacobs and Moschino couture, shoppers can now pick up a Ralph Lauren tie for 3 or a Zara skirt for 7. The bargains come courtesy of the US artist and writer Miranda July, who has set up a fully functioning charity shop inside the London department store. 

The pop-up, which opened today (until 22 October) and was commissioned by the non-profit organisation Artangel, comes complete with the harsh strip lighting, curtained changing room and box of stuffed toys synonymous with charity shops up and down the UK. 

But this is a charity shop with a major difference. It is the first in the country to combine charities from four religions: Islamic Relief, an international aid and development charity; Norwood, a Jewish charity supporting vulnerable children, families and people with learning disabilities; the London Buddhist Centre, where meditation and yoga are taught; and Spitalfields Crypt Trust, which supports people recovering from addiction. 

Charity shops are a very British thing, July says. You also have them in every faith. In the US we only have a few Christian thrift stores. Although the four charities are jointly staffing and providing stock for the shop, the project has been produced in solidarity with Islamic Relief. 

A charity shop like Islamic Relief would be very vulnerable on the street in the US, July explains. It speaks well of London that you have this here. Its not an easy moment to be Muslim. Islamic Relief is constantly having to prove they are not funding Islamic State. 

July says the idea to create a work in a luxury department store came about after she produced an app in collaboration with Miu Miu in 2014. I was thinking about the world of luxury goods and how they collaborate with artists. I wanted to mess with that a little bit, she says.

Despite the project's slightly subversive bent, July says Selfridges were receptive from the start. We were having high-level conversations about religion and commerce and about bursting the bubble around the experience of shopping for luxury clothing. They were open to the idea of selling a 3 blouse next to one with a 3,000 price tag, she says.

Sales, which were brisk on the opening morning, are being shared equally between the four partners. They, in turn, are paying it forward by donating 2.5% of their earnings to four other charities. Islamic Relief has chosen The Bike Project, Norwood is donating to Carers in Hertfordshire, the London Buddhist Centre to Praxis Community Project, while Spitalfields Crypt Trust is giving to Providence Row.

David Tang, fashion entrepreneur and Chinese art collector, dies aged 63

David Tang being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 (Image: PA Wire/PA Images/Lewis Whyld)
The Hong Kong and British socialite, fashion entrepreneur and early collector and supporter of Chinese contemporary art David Tang died on Tuesday 29 August aged 63. According to The Financial Times, where Tang penned a weekly advice column, he passed away at Londons Royal Marsden Hospital from cancer. The UK-educated scion of a wealthy family originally from Shanghai, Tang founded elite restaurant chain China Club in 1991 and the fashion brand Shanghai Tang in 1994, both purveyors of a nostalgic Chinoiserie chic that defined Chinese style in Western eyes at a time when the mainland was only starting to reopen.

Even before the business successes that would make him a global icon, Tang was an enthusiast of Chinese culture, and began collecting traditional and contemporary art from China in the 1980s. Along with 20th-century master Zhang Daqian, Tang collected contemporary talents including Zhang Xiaogang, Liu Xiaodong, Yu Youhan and Duan Jianyu. Pieces on display in his China Clubs in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore as well as his newer restaurant China Tang at the Dorchester in London impressively survey Chinese traditional, Modern, Communist and contemporary art.

Famously witty and debonair, David Tang counted among his intimate friends Kate Moss, Tracey Emin, Stephen Fry and Fidel Castro. The grandson of the Kowloon Bus Company;s founder Tang Shiu-kin, David Tang left Hong Kong at age 13 to study at the Perse School then Kings College and the University of Cambridge. Tang sold Shanghai Tang to the luxury conglomerate Richemont in 1998, and in 2013 started Tang Tang Tang Tang, a lifestyle brand aimed at wealthy mainlanders. He also created a cigar distributor called Pacific Cigar Company. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for charitable services in 2008. 

Though a lifelong supporter of China and its culture, Tang took a pragmatic and nuanced view of the mainland and its government. Highly critical of the mainlands handling of Hong Kong and interference in its politics, Tang last year aired his admiration for the Umbrella Movement protesters and frustration with Hong Kongs mainland-controlled government. A bon vivant to the end, Tang was planning an epic farewell bash at his China Tang restaurant in London's Dorchester Hotel on 6 September.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Christie's adds evening design and photography auction in London in October, raises buyer's premium

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Red Skull (1982), estimated in the region of £12-£18m in Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Christie's on 6 October
Christies will add an extra night of auctions to its autumn calendar, introducing an evening sale of design and photography for the first time during Frieze week. On Tuesday 3 October, the auction house will also hold a new sale called Up Close, featuring masterpieces on a small scale, followed by Masterpieces of Design and Photography.

The strength of our October sales last year, which totalled 91m overall, and the strong sell-through rate [90% by lot in the evening sale], convinced us this was the right move to make, says Christies chairman and head of post-war and contemporary art Francis Outred. The houses decision to skip the June sales of post-war and contemporary art in London, he says, added breathing room, so we can be much more focused in the selection.

The highlight of the main Post-War and Contemporary evening sale on 6 October is Red Skull (1982) by Jean-Michel Basquiat, which will test the markets continued appetite after the high note of $110.5m hit in May (although Red Skull is estimated more cautiously, in the region of 12-18m). The Basquiat is anchored by a group of works by his 1980s contemporaries, such as David Salle, Julian Schnabel and Peter Halley, who Outred thinks have been underrated for too long.

Likewise, in design and photography, Outred sees great potential for growth. The relative value of photography and design compared to painting and sculpture is ridiculously low and the gap deserves to be closed, he says. The sale will be headed by Jude Hull (photography) and Jeremy Morrison and Simon Andrews (design), and lots range from an 1875 Julia Margaret Cameron photograph to a Gerrit Rietveld side cabinet. Price points fall between 15,000 and 1m, with the aim of providing an entr to evening sales for younger collectors, particularly important in the absence of Christies South Kensington. 

These auctions will be subject to higher buyers premium rates, announced on 29 August and effective from 11 September on all platforms, including online-only sales. For all sales except wine, the new buyer's premium rates will be 25% up to and including $250,000 (previously $150,000); 20% up to and including $4m (previously $3m); and 12.5% thereafter (previously 12%). This follows Sothebys announcement last week that it will raise its fees as of 1 November. While Sothebys charges for live sales will be higher than Christies25% up to and including $300,000 (previously $250,000), 20% from $300,000 to $3m (previously $250,000 up to and including $3m), and 12.9% above $3m, up from 12.5% the auction house also made the intrepid move to scrap buyers premium entirely for online-only sales, a step its rivals have not taken.

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