Kelly Rowland, once a member of the famed girl group Destiny’s Child, will organize the latest Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated Auction in New York. Rowland joins a roster of other celebrity curators that Sotheby’s has brought in recent years, including Robert Pattinson, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Aoki.
In her selection, Rowland has focused on uplifting artists of color working in figuration, as well as abstraction.
“My first exposure to art was through figurative works that I could identify with, because as a kid, the world around me didn’t look the way I did,” said Rowland in a press release. “Today, I find myself gravitating toward more abstract pieces that meld motion, energy and color—those feelings of being on stage.”
Her selection includes works by Ernie Barnes, whose paintings have recently garnered surprising auction results. His most iconic work, The Sugar Shack (1976), sold at Christie’s for more than $15 million, 76 times its high estimate. Rowland selected two of his works for the auction: The Dunk (1998) and Four Ladies with Gold Hat (1998), the former depicting a woman leaping high, basketball in her hand. Barnes, who went to art school on an athletic scholarship, produced many works dedicated to sports and Black athletes.
“‘The Dunk’ has so much soul. The way she was dunking on that goal was hard—in a good way. It felt empowering,” said Rowland in the press release. “‘Four Ladies with Gold Hat’ reminded me of my Houston, Texas, days. It put me in the hair salon, which is a part of my upbringing, with these beautiful, Black, intelligent women.“
Also included in Rowland’s curated selection are works by Stanley Whitney and Robert Longo, as well as a particularly beautiful work by Reggie Burrows Hodges, Playing Reggae Records at the Pace House #2 (n.d.).
There will also be works donated by queer artists whose proceeds will go to the Ali Forney Center in New York, which provides housing and aid for at-risk queer youth. Artists who have donated work include Doron Langberg, Salman Toor, Jenna Gribbon, Hernan Bas, Felipe Baeza, and Nash Glynn.
The live auction will take place March 3.