Murakami Auction for Japan Earthquake Victims


Takashi Murakami and his studio, Kaikai Kiki, have organized a benefit auction for victims of the Mar. 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Titled “New Day: Artists for Japan,” the auction will be held during Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale on the morning of Nov. 9. Featuring 21 works by 15 artists, the auction is expected to raise $5 million. Proceeds will go to relief efforts coordinated by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Global Giving and International Medical Corps.

Works on offer include four major Murakami paintings, with estimates ranging from $300,000 to $550,000. Among the three paintings by Yoshitomo Nara, each about 5 feet on a side, is Patched Head, featuring one of his trademark doe-eyed girls (est. $250,000-350,000).

Other lots include a gleaming purple construction by Anselm Reyle (est. $25,000-35,000), a 3-foot-square gold leaf painting by Gabriel Orozco (est. $200,000-300,000), a 24-by-20-inch drawing on paper by Mark Grotjahn (est.  $40,000-60,000) and Balloon Monkey Wall Relief (Pink), a stainless steel piece by Jeff Koons (est. $600,000-800,000).

In September, another benefit auction, organized by David Zwirner and actor Ben Stiller-and supported by President Clinton-was held for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. It garnered $13.7 million, setting a record for charity sales at Christie’s, with the likes of Jennifer Aniston among the winning bidders. Debonair actor Ken Watanabe will kick off the “New Day” auction with the reading of a Japanese poem.