john edwards


Unveiled in London April 11-17, 2014

Francis was a real, true father to me, he gave me all the guidance I needed, and we laughed a lot. And I think he liked me because I didn’t want anything from him. When Francis painted, there was always a drama, It always seemed to me as if he was fighting with the canvas.” — John Edwards

Tuesday May 13th, 2014
Post-War and Contemporary Art – Evening sale

On the heels of the historical world record sale achieved for Three Studies of Lucian Freud at $142,405,000, Christie’s is pleased to offer Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, from 1984, as the highlight of the May 13th evening sale. Celebrating one of the most significant relationships in Francis Bacon’s life, this painting represents John Edwards, a bar manager from the East End of London, who Bacon had met a decade earlier and who went onto to become one of the artist’s inseparable companions, his most trusted confidents, and the rare witness to the artist at work. Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, embodies the sense of calm and confidence that came over Bacon work in the last decade of his life. Estimated in the region of $ 80 million, the triptych will be on view at Christie’s King Street before being at auction in New York on May 13th.

“We are honored to announce one of the greatest paintings from Francis Bacon’s acclaimed Late Period. Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, executed in 1984 was the centerpiece of the artist’s retrospective at the London Tate Gallery in 1985-86, and a work that the artist himself ranked amongst his best works. It shows an incredible tenderness and harmony that was prompted by Bacon’s paternal relationship with the sitter, and this period of contentment elicited a confidence of style that has been compared to late Matisse”, said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art.

John Edwards first met Francis Bacon in 1974 and became his companion until the artist’s death in 1992. Edwards was from the East End of London and from the outset his relationship with Bacon differed fundamentally from that earlier relationship with his lover and muse, George Dyer. Edwards, however, was not destined to be swallowed and destroyed by the love of the great artist in the way that both Dyer and Dyer’s predecessor, Peter Lacy had been. Indeed, Edwards is known to have stood up to Bacon and this forthright quality along with his honesty greatly endeared him to the artist. According to longtime friend Ian Board – the owner of the infamous Soho drinking club the Colony Room – Bacon was “riddled with love” for Edwards and became increasingly protective of him as an adoptive son.

Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards is a rare and important triptych from the 1980s that in many ways reflects the different nature of Bacon’s relationship with Edwards. A major work that attempts to capture the essence of the straightforward and forthright character of the artist’s

young companion, this three-paneled portrait was chosen by Bacon to be the final work of his second retrospective exhibition. Bacon’s first retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1962 had begun with his first triptych, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion of 1944 and ended with his great reworking of this painting, the 1962 Crucifixion triptych. The second Tate retrospective paid even more attention to Bacon’s great triptych paintings and beginning with the same 1944 painting, it culminated with the Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards which had been painted one year earlier.

Across a magnificent triumvirate of monumental canvases Bacon paints near life-size portraits of his companion John Edwards in a relaxed pose. Each painting displays a different aspect of Edwards’ handsome profile, beginning with the right side, before moving onto a full frontal view and ending with a glimpse of the left side of Edwards’ face. In each painting Edwards sits on a tall stool, his right leg pulled tightly upwards over his left knee. His classically sartorial combination is embellished by a brilliant flash of crimson red collar from a garment that Edwards wore underneath his crisp, white shirt.

While the subtle nuances of this striking pose are clear to see, it in his depictions of Edwards’ handsome facial features that Bacon really lavishes most attention, and in each of the three panels Bacon assembles a range of delicate and not so delicate painterly layers to build up an incredibly detailed and nuanced rendition of Edwards’ face. His strong jaw line is highlighted by a graceful sweeping arc in the left most canvas, accentuated by delicate chiaroscuro, and almost imperceptible shifts of skin tone are visible ranging from pale white to a more ruddy crimson. In each of these canvases, Bacon incorporates one of his signature techniques by using the cut-off ends of corduroy pants to apply, and then manipulate, the paint across the surface of the work resulting in thin ridges of pigment which give added depth and volume to his subject’s face.

Francis Bacon died in April 1992 and in his will he named John Edwards as his sole heir and keeper of his estate. Over the next decade, until his own death in 2003 aged 53, Edwards maintained Bacon’s legacy by overseeing the artist’s archives, including donating the contents of his Reece Mews studio to the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane in 2001. This level of trust that Bacon placed in Edwards was perhaps the ultimate demonstration of the close relationship between the two men. These three canvases are the physical manifestation of that trust, and the permanent legacy of one of the most powerful relationships that Bacon had ever experienced.


London: 11-17 April 2014


New York: 2-13 May 2014

Christie’s Dominates Middle East Market with $10.6 Million Auction


Art enthusiasts in Dubai crowded Christie’s saleroom tonight to compete for the 140 art works which sold for a total of $10,648,250 (AED39,111,022), an increase of 65% on last year’s sale total*. Christie’s 16th consecutive season in the region, was the first to be held to coincide with Dubai Art Week. The Pharos Collection of Modern Egyptian Art, expected to sell for around $1.4 million, made $3,895,500. The top lot of the sale, also from the Collection, was Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar’s (Egyptian, 1925-1965)Construction of the Suez Canal which sold for $1,023,750, a new world auction record for the artist.

Michael Jeha, Christie’s Managing Director in the Middle East, said: “Christie’s dominates the market for Middle Eastern Modern and Contemporary Art with our sales accounting for 74% of the auction market. The results demonstrated the powerful combination of Christie’s continued commitment to offering the best works for sale with great provenance. By moving the date of the well-established spring sales, Christie’s added an international auction to the stellar list of art-related events taking place in Dubai this week. It is a sign of the continuing strength and maturity of this market that, as in other great art cities around the world, Dubai has taken its place in the international art calendar.”

Among the many notable records broken tonight was a Black painting by Iranian contemporary artist Ali Banisadr which sold for $339,750 (AED1,247,902).

A depiction of the Sixth Ode from the seven Arabic poems known as the Muallaqat Al Sabaa by the Ali Omar Ermes, sold for $195,750 with a proportion of the proceeds from the sale to go to UNHCR.

V&A | Disobedient Objects



26 July 2014 – 1 February 2015. 

The V&A will this summer present the first exhibition to explore objects of art and design from around the world that have been created by grassroots social movements as tools of social change. From Chilean folk art textiles that document political violence to a graffiti-writing robot, defaced currency to giant inflatable cobblestones thrown

at demonstrations in Barcelona, to a political video game about the making of mobile phones, Disobedient Objects will demonstrate how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity. The exhibition will showcase forms of making that defy standard definitions of art and design. The objects that will be on display are mostly produced by non-professional makers, collectively and with limited resources as effective responses to complex situations.

The exhibition will focus on the late 1970s to the present; a time that has brought new technologies, social and political challenges. The objects are made in a number of ways including: the appropriation of everyday objects for a new subversive purpose, as seen with the Bike Bloc which was produced from discarded bicycles and audio equipment welded together during the 2009 Reclaim Power protests in Copenhagen; the employment of traditional crafts like hand-appliquéd protest banners; and hacking cutting-edge technology to create such protest tools as a counter-surveillance drone.

Many of the exhibits will be loaned directly from activist groups from all over the world, bringing together for the first time many objects rarely before seen in a museum. Context will be provided by newspaper cuttings, how-to guides and film content, including interviews and footage of the objects in action. Each design will be accompanied by the maker’s statement to explain how and why the object was created.

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: “This exhibition celebrates the creative ‘disobedience’ of designers and makers who question the rules. It shows that even with the most limited of resources, ordinary people can take design into their own hands. This is a brave and unusual exhibition; these are brave and unusual designers. We are proud to present their work.”

The first part of the exhibition introduces the design of activist objects in relation to four ways of effecting social change: direct action, speaking out, making worlds and solidarity. A specially-commissioned film will explore the history of ‘lock-ons’ – simple yet ingenious blockading devices designed to attach activists to the site of protest. Large shields employed on the front line during the 2010-11 protests against education cuts, were decorated to look like book covers, thereby changing the dynamic of the police’s confrontation with protestors. This design idea spread to similar protests around the world as it was such a powerful statement.

The way that protestors convey their message to avoid censorship and navigate the power of the media will be considered. Giant puppets have long been a tool of social movements, and a tableau of three puppets used in protests against the first Gulf War by the politically radical US-based Bread and Puppet Theater will be included. Recently, simple pamphlets, placards and banners have been re-worked for the modern world and used in conjunction with social media. A selection will be shown, including a hand-painted placard made by gay rights activists in Russia and used in the antigovernment demonstrations in Moscow in 2012. A series of defaced currency will also be displayed including ‘Occupy George,’ dollar bills circulated with fact-based infographics about the economic disparity of the US.

The maps and architectural experiments of protest camps illuminate the physical infrastructures that enable protest movements. The inflatable general assembly structure devised by 123Occupy offers protestors a place to gather, keep dry and discuss strategies and ideas. Meanwhile, a makeshift tear gas mask from the 2013 Istanbul protests, demonstrates a creative solution to support an individual protestor.

Creating a personal connection to a collective cause or identifying with an injustice can be an essential part of building a movement. This solidarity can be demonstrated by even the smallest objects. On show will be badges and t-shirts bearing the inverted pink triangle used by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), as well as a display mapping how anti- Apartheid badge designs spread in the 1980s from South Africa to solidarity groups around the world. There will also be pieces of jewellery designed by members of the Black Panther party while in prison and sent to supporters.

The final part of the exhibition profiles a series of case studies in protest design from the last 30 years. This section opens with a data-visualisation mapping every protest since 1979. The case studies include masks of the Guerrilla Girls who speak out against sexism in the art world, and the Tiki Love Truck, an anti-death penalty statement which takes the form of a mosaic-covered pick up vehicle by artist Carrie Reichardt. A web-based comedy series by Masasit Mati using finger puppets to lampoon the Assad regime in Syria will be displayed as

well as a project by the Barbie Liberation Organisation which involved switching the voiceboxes on talking GI Joe and Barbie dolls to highlight gender stereotypes in children’s toys. The whole space will be hung with banners drawn from a diverse range of protest sites including the 1980s Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the UK to recent anti- nuclear protests in Japan. | #disobedientobjects

Interview: ASTR


Who are ASTR?

ASTR is an electronic future r&b group made up of Zoe (vocals) and Adam (beats)

Who decided on the name ASTR?

we decided together after many lists of scribble and contemplation.  Astr comes from the greek goddess of the stars, Asteria – but also is relevant because the studio where we first worked together was near Astor Place in NYC.

How did you meet?

We met through a mutual friend who introduced us at a yoga studio in NYC. It took a few hangs to get to know each other and from there we started getting together at the studio and seeing what happened. It became pretty obvious we had a lot of similar musical taste so that made it things work out nicely.

Where does your passion/inspirations for music come from?

      You never know where or how inspiration will come to you. Sometimes its music sometimes movies or photography. Every day in NYC there’s something you notice or something happens that can turn on a lightbulb. Being in the city is something we credit for shaping our songs and ideas.


And how did you get into music?

Our paths to where we both are now have been very different but we each were in bands before and we both have been writing on our before we met. But both of our families were, in one way or another, musical and that helped shape things quite a bit.

What kind of music did you use to listen to as teenagers (and be very truthful)?

I listened to Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and lots of Dipset. Growing up around my mother I listened to a lot of soul artists such as Donny Hathaway and Jill Scott. Adam listened to a lot of hip hop, R&B and disco but also heard a lot of Jazz as his father was a Jazz head with tons of LP’s around the house. He played guitar as a kid and also listened to a lot of classic rock and psychedelic music.

ASTR have a unique and distinctive sound, where do you get your inspirations, sounds and ideas from and also how you would describe your sound?

Like a lot of musicians, our sound is mix of our influences. Subconsciously we mash up what we like and it just is what it is. We generally don’t think about the songs we write when we start them but just let the ideas happen the way they want to happen. We are inspired by tension, and struggle and victory. I think we write anthemic music that is both dark and triumphant at the same time.

When I first heard OPERATE back in April 2013, I instantly fell in love with your style, sound and I also believed I was the first person to play your track in the UK during my PhoenixFM show “The Fashion Zone”.  Who was behind your video and do you plan in making other videos from your Varsity EP?

We actually made that video ourselves with our friends.  Adam had collected a bunch of B-Movie and horror footage and that was cut up with footage we shot our friends basement. The goal was to create some sort of psychological thriller that was provocative. We are working on some new videos now so you will definitely see more soon but they will all be different stylistically.


How long did it take to complete your first EP entitled Varsity?

We weren’t consciously working on an ep. Over the last 2 years we had just been writing music and refining the songs we liked. Some we left behind, some just didn’t make it on the EP but we felt this batch of songs encapsulated the early period of us writing and the best songs of that chapter of ASTR.

How do you feel when you check out Soundcloud and see over 1.5 million listens to your Varsity EP?

It’s really great to know that people are listening – before we put any music out we wondered what the response would be and we are really glad people listened and liked our songs.

Where was your first live gig?

We played our first at Santos Party House back in June for Pop Shop, which is a night our would be label Neon Gold throws.

If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would you choose and why?

Amy Winehouse because there is a depth to her writing and pain in her voice that would amount to something really deep. Or we would take shots and not get a damn thing done – that happens.

When producing music, what inspires you to make new tracks? Do you work at home, or do you have a studio space where you get into a creative mindset or is it something simple as in the shower or bath?

We just play around a find whatever feels good, sometimes we will hear something when we are out or we’ll listen to old records and get inspired from the vibe or some specific synth. We work out of a few studios but typically its better to work out a regular space that is comfortable. Writing is sometimes easy when it just comes fluidly. That’ always when the best stuff comes out. It’s real and under thought but sometimes you hit a wall and it takes forever to regain clear perspective. Thats when you might say no, this isn’t that good or worse, it IS that good and you’ve exhausted your enthusiasm for it. We have a few of those collecting dust in the pile.

Any new artists, you’ve been listening to recently which you recommend looking out for?

Rich Homie Quan had a big record in the states called Some Type Of Way – its dope. Some of his other songs are cool – he may not be known out in UK yet so check him out.

2014 is going to be a successful year for Astr.   You’re doing some live gigs this year in LA, Boston & UK. What are the dates & venues, you’ll be performing at?

We are playing Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, Echoplex in LA and some other smaller cities. We want to do more in UK so bring us back, ok?

When you visit the UK, we would love to have you live on Phoenix FM for any interview.  What do you think?

Let’s do it

Apart from touring, do you have any other projects lined up?

We have some collaborations we are lining up but it’s really 24/7 ASTR because we want to finish a full length this year. With all the other stuff that comes with touring and traveling it’s now becoming a bit more challenging to get in good work time in the studio.

Anything else, you wish to convey to your fans?

Stay tuned!



jacob lawrence


Following one of its most successful years in the category of American Art, Christie’s announces that two sales of American Art will be offered this February – the annual mid-season sale on February 26, along with the first online-only sale for the department, Jacob Lawrence: Works From The Collection Of The Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Trust. The live auction will offer 180 lots, spanning the 19th and 20th century, with such notable artists as Milton Avery, Jane Peterson, N.C. Wyeth, and Stephen Scott Young, among others. The online-only sale, open for bidding from February 21 through March 4, will feature 40 works by Jacob Lawrence from the Estate of the artist’s wife of nearly 60 years, Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence (1913-2005), who was also an artist herself.

Over the past few years, Christie’s has made a significant commitment to building its e-commerce platform to support internet exclusive sales and has successfully piloted numerous online-only sales for Wine, Fashion, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Asian Art, and Pop Culture with great feedback and enthusiasm from our clients. The expansion of online-only sales into the American Art category is a testament to clients’ support of the internet-exclusive platform as a regular and integral component of Christie’s business.



Spanning decades through the artist’s career, from the late 1940s-1990s, the online-only sale of Jacob Lawrence: Works from the Collection of the Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Trust offers a variety of media and themes of work by the important twentieth century African American artist Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence is renowned for his work’s modernist aesthetic that is fused with depictions of everyday realities he observed in his community. The artist’s brightly colored palette and distinctive style is evident in a selection of works available in the sale that balance the twin elements of Lawrence’s art, content and form.

Lawrence explored both historical events and contemporary experiences. His first large series of work, painted in 1938, was on the life of General Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led Haiti to independence, and the The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture series is represented by a selection of screenprints available in the sale, including Toussaint at

One of Lawrence’s most iconic themes was of that of the builders, a subject matter he explored throughout his career. Rather than showing builders toiling on laborious tasks in a negative light, the artist’s builders works are optimistic and developed overtime to depict integrated groups of people working together in

harmony. The online sale includes several vibrant works from the artist’s last painted series of builders, such as Builders—Men on Ladders, as well as several drawings.

Men playing games like chess or cards was another frequently depicted theme in Lawrence’s work, especially toward the end of his career, and several of these paintings are available in the sale. The final games series is imbued with the artist’s fully developed style using fragmented planes and a bold palette, such as Games—Throwing the Dice.


Phoenix FM | One Night Only


I was back on the air last night for Phoenix FM.

Playlist included:

Worthy – Acid Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy (Worthys Nut Crackin Rerub up)

Ayer – Young (Mickey Valen Radio Edit)

Roy Davisjr ft. Robert Owens

Chase & Status – Count On Me (feat. Moko)

Chromeo – Night By Night (Oliver Nelson Remix)

Crystal Bats – Falling In Love (Louis La Roche Remix)

Empire of the Sun – Dna (Alex Metric Remix)

Ghosts of Venice – By My Side

Janet Jackson – Rock With U (Ghosts Of Venice Rework)

John Newman – Losing Sleep (Disciples Remix)

Lorde – Team (Mickey Valen Remix)

Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover (Bearson Edit)

Punks Jump Up – Fairlight (Club Mix)

Tempations – TreatHerLikeALady

The Knocks & Treasure Fingers – My Body (Ghosts Of Venice Remix)

A Guy called Gerald – Voodoo Ray (Grant Nelson Remix)

Chris Malinchak – If U Got It (The Magician Remix)

Disclosure – F For You (Dalton John remix)

Jerome LOL – Always (Bondax Tool)

Julio Bashmore – Battle For Middle You (Low Steppa rebattle)

Low Steppa – The Cry

Ms Mr – Fantasy (Xaphoon Remix)

Pat Lok ft. Bear Mountain – Same Hearts

Sango ft. SPZRKT   Middle Of Things, Beautiful Wife (Stwo Remix)

Heres one of my favourites from last night:

V&A | Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright



8 February – 21 September 2014

In celebration of the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth on 23 April 2014, this display will explore Shakespeare’s works as inspiration for a multitude of theatrical interpretations through the centuries and across the globe.

Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright will take Shakespeare’s First Folio as its centrepiece. This collected edition of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays (excluding Pericles) was published in 1623 and contains the first known versions of many of the plays. Without it, eighteen of the works would be unknown today, including Macbeth, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night. Surrounding the Folio will be new interviews, archive footage and photography, and twenty-five objects from the V&A collections, to explore how the plays have been interpreted and re-imagined by successive generations.

At the heart of the display will be a specially commissioned audiovisual installation by Fifty Nine Productions featuring interviews with contemporary theatre practitioners. Leading actors, directors and designers will consider their relationships with Shakespeare’s plays, including Simon Russell Beale, Lucy Osborne, Edward Hall, Julie Taymor, Cush Jumbo, Sinéad Cusack and the Belarus Free Theatre. Illustrating the interviews will be recorded excerpts of Shakespearean performances from the V&A’s National Video Archive of Performance, and images from the Museum’s collections. This material will be projected onto a constellation of screens to represent the seeming infinity of interpretations of Shakespeare’s works.

Objects on display, including props, costumes, set models, design sketches and printed ephemera, will illustrate past productions of Shakespeare’s works. Amongst these are a skull used by Sarah Bernhardt during her role as Hamlet in 1899, and the embroidered handkerchief used by actress Ellen Terry whilst playing Desdemona in 1881 at the Lyceum Theatre. Costumes include a headdress by the prominent society designer Oliver Messel, worn by the actress Vivien Leigh during performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1937, and a pair of red boots worn by actor-manager Henry Irving in an 1877 production of Richard III. With a stacked right heel, the boots helped Irving to perform with the character’s distinctive limp.

Designs on paper for both set and costume will be shown, such as a 1945 costume design by Roger Furse for the character of Falstaff, which depicts a realistic ‘fat-suit’ to be worn by Sir Ralph Richardson. Interpretations of theatrical sets will be explored through a 1772 set design for Richard III by the innovative designer Philip James de

Loutherbourg, which suggests a free-standing bridge, and Sally Jacobs’ 1970 set model for director Peter Brook’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which shows the stage transformed into a circus space. Examples of theatrical ephemera will also be displayed including a ticket to a 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee.

Further insight into Shakespeare’s life and legacy is provided through a mural designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, which includes statistics about the playwright’s works, their global reception, and famous phrases which have their origin in the plays.

Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright will be accompanied by a varied programme of activities and events at the V&A celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and examining the enduring influence and popularity of the world’s most famous poet and playwright.

  • Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright will be shown in the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Galleries from 8 February to 21 September 2014
  • The V&A is open daily from 10.00 – 17.45 and until 22.00 every Friday
  • Admission is FREE
  • The display curator is Victoria Broackes, a curator in the Department of Theatre and

    Performance, Head of Performance Exhibitions and Head of the London Design

    Festival at the V&A

  • 3D design by Laura Hopkins, sound design by Gareth Fry, and music composed by

    Paul Clark

  • Creative direction and AV design by 59 Productions

Q&A with Danny from AYER


Elle from Public Description caught up with Danny from AYER. AYER is made up of Brooklyn duo, Danny and Mikey.

Their partnering is a match made in musical heaven.

Danny, when did you know you wanted to be in music?

I’ve always known, absolutely. In some way or another I’ve always been involved with music, and where I am now — writing, creating, recording — has been my intended destination for at least the last decade or something!


How would you describe your music style?

I’d say.. piano and beat driven music with catchy melodies, layers for days and synths.


Who would be your dream collaboration to work with? 

James Blake.


If there was one word you would use to explain your experience so far in the music business, what would it be?



Which person do you feel you have learned the most from in life?

Oh man.. Lao Tzu? In all honesty, I couldn’t single it down. I’m very influenced by all my close friends and family.


Any plans to come to London soon?

No plans but I’ve never been to Europe, so as soon as effing possible!


What can we expect to see from AYER in 2014?

The debut EP will be out sometime in March of April. I’d love to fill the rest of the year out with touring, a full length record or another EP and definitely some collaborations. Lots of great things!


Thanks Danny, and wishing you a great 2014



AYER Music Dot Com




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