YBAs Sell Millions Worth of Art to Fund Goldsmiths’ New Gallery
Hirst, Lucas, and more are giving back to the art school that started it all.
What do Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Julian Opie, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Steve McQueen have in common, apart from being British, talented, and wildly successful?
They all attended the same art school in South East London: Goldsmiths, where they laid the foundations of their current success. Now, the group of A-list alumni is giving back, and donated works to raise funds for a new exhibition space in the legendary school.
The works will go under the hammer at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art day sale, on February 12. And while the endeavor is philanthropic, there will be few bargains to be had. Damien Hirst’s Ipratropium Bromide (2007) has a presale estimate of £250,000–350,000, and both Sarah Lucas’s Nahuiolin (2013) and Antony Gormley’s Another Time XX (2013) carry estimates of £120,000–180,000.
“Art schools are the foundation of the now global industry of the art world and Goldsmiths has inspired three successive generations of artists, who in their turn have brought about a sea-change of interest in contemporary art,” Francis Outred, Christie’s head of postwar and contemporary art, Europe, commented. “Every bidder will be contributing to the future of the creative industries in Britain,” he added.
Proceeds will be put towards the £2.8 million needed to build The Gallery at Goldsmiths, which will be fully funded by external donations and designed by the London-based architecture collective Assemble. The new venue will host a program of exhibitions, research projects, and residencies.
The reputation of Goldsmiths as one of the best art schools in Europe is not to be taken lightly. In the past 25 years, the school has produced seven Turner Prize winners and 30 nominees.
The school, founded in 1891, is renowned for its rigorous critical curriculum and multidisciplinary approach to art-making.
“I loved my time at Goldsmiths College in the early ’80s and I am very happy to offer a specially made painting to help raise funds for the new gallery,” the artist Julian Opie said. “I feel I owe a great deal to the institution and the teachers, technicians, and students I met whilst there. Having an active and high profile, purpose built gallery within an art school is a radical and exciting idea typical of Goldsmiths.”
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