In September 2008, Richard Phillips appeared as himself in an episode of the New York-set teen melodrama, Gossip Girl. The cast—Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick, Penn Badgley, and Taylor Momsen—were at the height of their fame, chased by tabloids, idolized by pre-teens. His appearance sparked an idea, which turned into his 2011 print series, “Most Wanted,” which made its world debut at White Cube gallery in London: larger-than-life portraits of famous young, faces surrounded by brand logos. The celebrities’ “branding of their own countenance, versus the branding of the brands within the pieces set up a kind of mutual agreement that ends up being an art object,” explains Phillips in the video above.
Today, a complete edition of “Most Wanted” will go on sale via the online auction house Paddle8.com as part of a celebrity-inspired auction, “Somebody.” Other artists featured include Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dan Colen, Wade Guyton, David LaChapelle, Nate Lowman, Richard Prince, and, of course, the father of contemporary art’s fascination with and dissection of fame (and the father of Interview), Andy Warhol.
Phillips’ “Most Wanted” series is, as he notes, heavily influenced by Warhol—especially Richard Bernstein’s illustrated covers of Interview throughout the 1970s and 1980s. “Interview created indelible images of Pop Art that arrived on people’s doorsteps every month,” says Phillips. The title itself is in reference to Warhol’s 1964 “Thirteen Most Wanted Men.”
Founded by auctioneer Alexander Gilkes and entrepreneur Aditya Julka, Paddle8 aims to serve the artist and the art acquirer: the vendor’s commission is low, as is the buyer’s premium, and auctions are partnered with charities.
Visit the “Somebody” auction here.