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10 New Artist Auction Records Set in May 2024

Another May auction season in New York has concluded. Nearly $1.4 billion worth of art was sold in a week that followed a blockbuster fortnight of art fairs in the Big Apple, with Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips all holding marquee sales.

Despite anxieties over a tepid art market as well as a cyberattack on the website of Christie’s, the sales yielded a mixed—but not wholly negative—picture. While the total sum was lower than the $1.8 billion achieved in May 2023, sales landed broadly within their estimates, with works by several blue-chip names such as Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Claude Monet demonstrating solidity under the hammer. Still, a handful of notable lots sold for below their estimates or were withdrawn altogether Brice Marden’s Event (2004–07), for instance, was tipped to break the artist’s auction record, but was removed from Christie’s 20th- and 21st-century art evening sale at the last minute.

As is typical, the May season saw the setting of several major auction records. Here, we select 10 of the notable new auction benchmarks set during the week. All prices include fees.

Martin Wong, Portrait of Mikey Piñero at Ridge Street and Stanton, 1985

Sold for $1.6 million (Estimate: $1 million–$2 million)


Executed during the artistic peak of the late Chinese American artist Martin Wong’s career, Portrait of Mikey Piñero at Ridge Street and Stanton (1985) sold for $1.6 million at Christie’s 21st-century evening sale.

The price caps off a remarkable rise in recognition for the artist, whose estate is represented by P·P·O·W The artist was the subject of a recent traveling European retrospective, which included stops at museums such as Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and London’s Camden Art Centre.

Portrait of Mikey Piñero at Ridge Street and Stanton contains several of Wong’s recurring motifs, such as brickwork and beer cans, and also features the artist’s lover, the playwright and actor Mickey Piñero, whose poem borders the piece. The artist’s previous record at auction was set in 2022 for Quong Yuen Shing & Co. (1992), which sold for $1.26 million at Bonhams.