David Zwirner Gallery Will Represent Market Darling Njideka Akunyili Crosby in Asia and the US

The mega-gallery will share representation with Victoria Miro in London.

Portrait of the artist. Photo by © Brigitte Sire. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner.

The international mega-gallery David Zwirner has announced that it will represent one of the art world’s biggest and fastest-rising stars: the Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Zwirner will work with the artist at its galleries in New York and Hong Kong, while Crosby will continue to show with Victoria Miro in London and Venice. 

In less than a decade, Crosby has become one of the most sought-after artists anywhere in the world. She first made her name at the Studio Museum’s prestigious residency program in Harlem in 2012.

Victoria Miro brought Crosby to wider attention when the gallery presented one of her works at Art Basel in Miami Beach in late 2014. She quickly became known for her signature technical approach, which combines layers of paper and collage transfers, as well as her autobiographical subject matter, which typically references Nigeria, her country of birth, and America, her adopted homeland.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, installation view of Before Now After (Mama, Mummy, and Mamma) (2015). Whitney Museum of American Art. Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London. Photo: Ron Amstutz.

A commission from the Whitney Museum in 2015, which was posted on a massive billboard near New York’s High Line, first exposed her work to the public at large. By 2016, demand for the artist’s work, which she produces slowly, far outweighed supply, prompting her prices to soar at auction. An untitled work on paper from 2011 offered at Sotheby’s that year fetched $93,750, more than triple its high pre-sale estimate of $18,000 to $25,000.

In 2017, Crosby was awarded the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” grant, and in May of this year, she set her present auction record when Bush Babies (2017) sold for $3.4 million. She also has a number of high-profile museum projects on the horizon, including solo presentations at the National Portrait Gallery in London (opening November 17), the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (opening December 1), and Victoria Miro’s Venice gallery (on view in May to coincide with the Venice Biennale). 

According to artnet’s Price Database, the artist’s total auction sales in 2018 to date stand at $5.9 million, with five lots offered and a 100 percent sell-through rate. Meanwhile, artnet’s Intelligence Report found that Crosby is the highest-grossing artist at auction born after 1980, with a cumulative sales total of $16.6 million.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Crosby described the ambivalence she feels toward her rapid success—and the scrutiny and speculation it has brought with it. “My friends tell me I should just be happy my works are selling, and I am,” she said. “It’s scary how vulnerable I still feel.”

It’s not the first time that David Zwirner has opted to share representation of a market darling. The gallery also co-represents Yayoi Kusama with Victoria Miro, and Kerry James Marshall with New York gallery Jack Shainman.

A representative for David Zwirner says there are no immediate plans for a show of Crosby’s work in New York.

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