Sotheby’s taps K-pop star to curate art auction

D-day 🔨 #TTTOP Sotheby’s #eveningsale

A photo posted by T.O.P (@choi_seung_hyun_tttop) on

It’s no secret that the art market is suffering. The contemporary bubble has popped, and dealers are facing the reality of a cooler market across the board. So how do you drum up new business with new and younger clients? Hire a K-pop star to guest-curate the auction.

Yesterday, Sotheby’s Hong Kong racked in $17.4 million, selling 28 Asian and Western contemporary artworks, thanks in part to the presence of Korean pop-star T.O.P., according to CNN.

The 1983 painting “Infantry” by Jean Basquiat was the largest sale of the night, realizing $5.98 million.

And a commissioned work by Japanese artist Kohei Nawa sold for $72,115, seven times the high-estimate projected by Sotheby’s.

“The success of the evening was largely thanks to its unlikely star, K-pop icon T.O.P of South Korean boy band Big Bang,” CNN writes. T.O.P., who has 5.8 million Instagram followers, curated the auction, helping Sotheby’s reach a younger demographic.

“As much of 40 percent of new clients that transact with us for the first time in Asia are young collectors (those being under 40 years old),” Yuki Terase, a contemporary Asian art specialist at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, told CNN. “So it’s a very significant phenomenon that we witness in Asia that is truly notable and influences the entire art world.” [CNN]