Awol Erizku : "The Only Way Is Up"

Oct 01, 2014

Ethiopian-American Artist, Erizku makes work that references his life as a black artist as well as prodigious and inescapable art-historical figures like Marcel Duchamp, David Hammons, and Donald Judd. Pop culture often infiltrates his creative process, and diva Beyoncé (whom Jay-Z has dubbed a modern-day Mona Lisa) appeared here in L.H.O.O.Q@Beyoncé after Duchamp #1, 2014. The work consists of a framed retail shopping bag bearing the singer’s image altered by the artist, who added a beard and shaggy armpit, using his own hair salvaged from the floor of a barbershop. A grid of nine photographs entitled Heads, 2013, unforgettably depicts the art of black male hairstyling. The entire edition of three plus two artist’s proofs priced at $15,000 each sold out quickly, according to the gallery’s founding partner Sarah Hasted, who further indicated that many keen collectors were disappointed to have missed out on the piece. Several well-known American collectors as well as public institution in Florida acquired works from among the photographs and sculpture on view. Erizku’s collector base is almost exclusively American, and his prices range from $5,000 to $35,000, the price for his Judd-like Wall Stack of gold-dipped basketball hoops, which landed in a private collection. Photographs in editions of three wer priced between $8,000 and $10,000; just a few remained available at press time.