Art’s cutting edge at Bonhams & Butterfields

International fine arts auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields is pleased to offer Modern, Contemporary and Latin Art on Nov. 18, 2008. The auction, simulcast between the San Francisco and Los Angeles salesrooms, will feature works by preeminent artists of the 20th century, as well as works by contemporary art world icons Banksy, Paladino, Mullican, Friedeberg and Guiragossian, among others.

Highlighting the fall offering is Heavy Weaponry (over Radar), 2002, by urban artist Banksy (estimate $80,000-$120,000). Composed of stencils with black and red spraypaint on cardboard, the highly satirical piece from the elusive pseudo-anonymous British graffiti artist challenges the viewer through a combination of street art, stencil technique and thought-provoking topics. This work combines two of Banksy’s recognizable stencils: Heavy Weaponry, a singular elephant with a rocket strapped to its back, and Radar Rat, a red target-like symbol customarily depicted with a rat.

“Heavy Weaponry celebrates Bansky’s street style and the art of dissent through his use of images and underlying messages,” says Frank Hettig, Director of Contemporary and Modern Art at Bonhams & Butterfields. “The work issues a challenge to the viewer and asks them to question how they see the world. Bonhams’ London salesroom has had great success offering Bansky during its ‘Vision 21’ auctions in 2007. Bonhams & Butterfields is pleased to continue this tradition, offering a distinct work such as Heavy Weaponry from the urban master,” said Hettig.

Also featured is a rare set of white lacquered wood chairs titled Right Hand, Left Hand from Mexican artist Pedro Friedeberg. Custom painted for a Mexican residence, the seating is designed in the shape of two corresponding oversized human hands. Typically seen in black lacquer or mahogany, the pair is unusual in a white finish. Highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs alike, the hands are expected to bring $15,000-$20,000 during the fall sale.

Additional highlights from the November auction include: an untitled 1985 work in limestone by Mimmo Paladino described as “striking” (estimate $40,000-$60,000); Matt Mullican’s Untitled, 1984 (2 parts) (estimate $25,000-$30,000); a graphically complex contemporary work and an untitled linear oil on canvas painting by Lebanese artist Paul Guiragossian, from a private Los Angeles collection.

The afternoon session of the day-long sale will feature the latest installment of Bonhams’ Made in California sale, an auction that debuted in 2007 to great success. Dedicated to Modern and Contemporary California art, featured works include modernist paintings of the mid-20th century and the genre-defying work of today. Within the past 10-years, the California art scene has transformed itself from a small group of relatively unknown artists to the cutting edge of avant-garde art. Artists such as Roland Petersen, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston, Ron Davis and Larry Bell are featured in these sales. (Please see separate release at

The Los Angeles and San Francisco galleries will simulcast both auctions on Nov. 18, enabling bidding from the salesrooms in both cities. Made in California will follow the international Modern, Contemporary and Latin Art auction that begins at 10 am. Artwork from both sales will be on display in San Francisco on Nov. 1-4 and in Los Angeles on Nov. 15-17.