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Phillips Senior Advisor Arnold Lehman in South Africa to assess the current state of visual arts Article Image

Phillips Senior Advisor Arnold Lehman in South Africa to assess the current state of visual arts

Posted on 15 February 2016

Arnold Lehman, internationally known former director of New York's Brooklyn Museum for 18 years, has joined Phillips Auction House to advise on its global brand and to actively engage with museums and artists worldwide. One of his first tasks is to raise the profile of Phillips in Africa. The company is best known internationally for the strength of its modern and contemporary art sales.

Lehman will be visiting South Africa from 14 - 22 February 2016 where he plans to assess the current state of the visual arts in South Africa. He states that his goal is to meet as many collectors, artists, museum professionals, gallerists, and art writers as possible in order to build both a better understanding of the art world in South Africa and to learn how Phillips might be of assistance in that world.

"Our goal is to create as much awareness as possible that Phillips is keenly interested in the current status of the visual arts in South Africa and that our trip to South Africa is the first opportunity for me, as Senior Advisor at Phillips, to see it for myself," says Lehman. He is also looking forward to visiting the Cape Town Art Fair.

Phillips links with South Africa started with its sale of a William Kentridge edition work in 1999 which made a record of $17 250 (against an estimate of $1 500 to $2 000) at an auction sale in New York, alerting the company to the potential of South African art.

William Kentridge, Sleeper Red, from Sleeper Series, 1997. Auctioned by Phillips in October 2014 for $50,000.

Highly respected in the national and international art community, Lehman has been an activist museum director for over forty years. During that time, he has been an advocate and leader of public accessibility, diversity, community, innovation, and freedom of expression in American museums and other cultural institutions.

In his eighteen years at Brooklyn, over 200 exhibitions were presented under his guidance and traveled to institutions around the world. Among Lehman's exhibition priorities has been to focus on African American artists and artists of color from all over the world, including Kehinde Wiley, Yinka Shonibare, Takashi Murakami, Michalene Thomas, El Anatsui, Hank Willis Thomas, Ai Weiwei, Hew Locke, Sanford Biggers, and Zanele Muholi among many others.

"The value of South African art has risen exponentially over the last decade and as a major player in modern and contemporary art, we are here to learn as much as possible about this exciting new market which is beginning to attract international attention from major art collectors worldwide," Lehman says.

For interview opportunities and more information, please contact Phillips Press Office at +44 797 056 3958 or email

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