Soccer Art Auction Raises Millions for Charity
Art And Culture

Soccer Art Auction Raises Millions for Charity

A portrait of the Barcelona star Lionel Messi by Damien Hirst has fetched $556,000 at Sotheby’s London auction.
Thursday’s sale of football-themed works at Sotheby’s, London, featured 18 works donated by artists including Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, US sculptor Richard Serra and Egypt’s Wael Shawky.
According to Yahoo news, the auction raised more than $4 million for 1 in 11, a UNICEF-backed campaign launched earlier this year by Messi and US tennis star Serena Williams to increase educational opportunities for children in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal.
‘Beautiful Messi Spin Painting for One in Eleven’ portrays the Argentine striker in his Barcelona shirt, flanked by an explosive pair of footballs.
Another portrait of Messi, ‘Lionel Messi and a Universe of Flowers’ by Murakami, depicts the star on the artist’s signature pop art-style floral background, and sold for $483,000. Murakami has described the portrait as forming part of his ongoing portrait series featuring contemporary cultural figures of note. A football designed by Murakami and signed by Messi sold for $69,000, while a 1999 work by Jeff Koons entitled ‘Donkey’(Yellow version) became the most expensive item of the sale, fetching $850,000.
Sotheby’s auctioneer and Europe deputy chairman Oliver Barker said, “Never has the phrase ‘the beautiful game’ been more apt than this evening, when the worlds of football and art collided.”
These worlds have collided before. The National Gallery displays Turner Prize-nominated artist and Fifty Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s ‘David’ (2004), a video work filmed in a single, long take featuring a sleeping David Beckham.
In 2006 artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno directed ‘Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait’, a documentary following the French footballer throughout the course of a match. Murakami acknowledges the influence of Andy Warhol, who made several silk-screen prints of Brazilian legend Pelé in 1979.


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