Ge­orge Michael’s art col­lec­tion up for auc­tion at Christie’s

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY JILL LAW­LESS

LONDON — Ge­orge Michael left a rich legacy of mu­sic— and of vis­ual art.

The mu­si­cian’s col­lec­tion of works by some of Bri­tain’s most fa­mous con­tem­po­rary artists is go­ing up for auc­tion in London next month, auc­tion­eer Christie’s an­nounced Fri­day.

The sale in­cludes pieces by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lu­cas and other mem­bers of the “Young Bri­tish Artists” gen­er­a­tion who, like Michael, shook up Bri­tain’s cre­ative scene in the 1980s and ’90s.

Cris­tian Albu, co-head of post­war and con­tem­po­rary art at Christie’s, said the col­lec­tion is “a por­trait of Bri­tain in the 1990s.”

He said Michael wanted “to cel­e­brate a time in which new life was breathed into London,” and be­gan buy­ing works by artists who be­came per­sonal friends.

“He was in­tro­duced to Tracey Emin and from then ev­ery­thing is his­tory,” Albu said. “Tracey in­tro­duced him to the whole gang . ... He was go­ing to their stu­dios and they were com­ing to his con­certs.”

More than 200 works will go un­der the ham­mer, in­clud­ing Hirst’s “The In­com­plete Truth,” a glass case en­clos­ing a dove pre­served in formalde­hyde, which has an es­ti­mated price of $1.28 mil­lion to $1.92 mil­lion.

Also up for sale is one of Emin’s self-re­veal­ing works, “Drunk to the Bot­tom of My Soul,” an em­broi­dered blan­ket with an es­ti­mate of $230,400 to $320,000.

The col­lec­tion in­cludes sev­eral pieces by Young Bri­tish Artists men­tor Michael Craig-Mar­tin, in­clud­ing a pop art-style por­trait of Michael, com­mis­sioned by the mu­si­cian and es­ti­mated at $76,800 to $102,400.

Albu said the col­lec­tion also re­veals Michael’s sense of hu­mor. In 1998, the singer was ar­rested by an un­der­cover po­lice of­fi­cer in Los An­ge­les for lewd con­duct in a pub­lic toi­let. He sat­i­rized the po­ten­tially ca­reer-threat­en­ing mo­ment in the song and video “Out­side.” He also ac­quired three works by Craig-Mar­tin: one em­bla­zoned “Sex”; one, called “God,” de­pict­ing a uri­nal; and one of hand­cuffs.

“He took that mo­ment and he turned it into a joke, and he turned that joke into art,” Albu said.

Christie’s im­Ages ltd. 2017 viA AP

“Song­bird,” an oil on linen paint­ing by Brid­get Ri­ley., is one of more than 200 art pieces from mu­sic artist Ge­orge Michael’s pri­vate col­lec­tion that will go up on the auc­tion block in London in March.


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