Ebay’s selection of Asian artwork and art ephemera runs the gamut from the rare to the bizarre.
Looking for holiday gift ideas for the hard-to-please Asian art fan in your life? Art Radar has been scouring the web for the best and most unique contemporary art gifts. Below is just a handful of potential gifts found in the immense online marketplace Ebay.
Ebay is not exactly the first place one would think to look for original artwork, much less Asian contemporary art. However, with a little digging, there are some fascinating pieces to be found.
[Editor’s note: Art Radar is unable to verify any claims of authorship, authenticity or provenance made by Ebay sellers. Should you want to buy any of the works below, we recommend your guiding principle be caveat emptor.]
1. (Potentially) authentic Nam June Paik sculpture
It may surprise you that Korean-American Nam June Paik, often credited as the world’s first video artist, has a sculpture on Ebay. The seller alleges that Pedo, a “video automaton” circa 1970, may be one of the earliest works ever produced by the artist. For a mere USD35,000 (or best offer), the artwork can be yours.
2. Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds
On the opposite end of the price range, one Hong Kong-based seller is offering ten of Ai Weiwei’s famed Tate Modern sunflower seeds for only USD20 plus shipping. While The Guardian reported in 2011 that some unscrupulous museum visitors were pocketing seeds to sell on Ebay, this seller states that the seeds were legally acquired from Ai’s assistant at his porcelain studio in Jingdezhen, China.
3. Japanese contemporary prints, ephemera
Given their notoriety for commercial collaborations, it is no surprise that many Japanese contemporary art superstars have a big presence on Ebay.
A wide array of Murakami prints are on offer, with many in the low-to-mid thousands. The Murakami collectibles section is a great area for fans looking for a less expensive option. Limited edition plush dolls, pillows and plastic figurines run from approximately USD100 to 500.
Ebay has a number of Nara’s sculptures, prints and even single-edition drawings. There are also several officially licensed products you might not expect from a contemporary artist, including Yoshitomo Nara plush dolls, ceramic ash trays and even a USD10,000 Afghan rug.
You can buy an officially licensed Yayoi Kusama soft sculpture pumpkin for as low as USD165. Those with quirkier tastes can find official Kusama-designed towels, pumpkin key rings and a limited-edition porcelain plate set inspired by the artist’s 1950s Infinity Nets series. For the deeper-pocketed, Ebay also has a smattering of Kusama prints and sculptures ranging between USD12,000 to 21,000.
4. Asian contemporary print work
For more Asian print artwork, Ebay offers a wide variety of artists and prices.
Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has a number of signed and unsigned lithographs on Ebay that run from USD200 to 2,500.
A limited edition 1993 C-Print from Iranian artist Shirin Neshat is going on eBay for USD1000.
If you have a favourite Asian artist working in prints, it is worth having a look on eBay to see if there are any hidden treasures for sale.
5. Anish Kapoor-designed miscellany
Indian art devotees can find Anish Kapoor espresso cups and plates, designed in collaboration with Italian coffee company illy. The signed, limited-edition cups were made to commemorate the artist’s work Ascension, a work that was shown at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Kapoor fans may also be tempted by a ring he designed for Italian jeweller Bulgari, which can be purchased on Ebay new for just over USD1000.
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