An Auction at Sotheby’s, Public School Style

Now that they’ve taken the mantle at DKNY, Public School co-founders Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne have been in higher demand than ever. But the duo didn’t need to think twice about curating a show of print artworks as part of a major Sotheby’s auction next week.

“Max and I are going through a big art loving phase,” says Chow. “So we jumped on that,” adds Osborne. “Even though we looked at our calendar and said, ‘We shouldn’t be doing this.'”

To start, the pair went through a catalog of nearly 400 print works going to auction, and chose just over 70 favorites to highlight as part of the pre-sale exhibition. Their curated selections will be on view at Sotheby’s beginning this Thursday, until the live auctions on November 23 and 24. Included are pieces by Keith Haring, Pablo Picasso, Barbara Kruger, Robert Motherwell, Edvard Munch, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, among many others. “They have a vision,” says Mary Bartow, head of the Sotheby’s Prints department, of Chow and Osborne. “They picked all sorts of things, not just minimalism, which I thought they were going to pick, but also some crazy things, and some very colorful pieces… They have really good taste.”

Chow and Osborne were especially familiar with artists like Haring and Basquiat, whom they remember firsthand from growing up in New York in the 1980s. Other artists, like Picasso, they recalled finding out about for the first time on school trips to art museums. A few others, like Motherwell and Munch, they did not deeply learn about until this project.

Reflecting on the trajectory of their art historical knowledge, the longtime friends and partners took a personal approach in organizing the prints in the exhibition space. “We came up with this narrative of how we experienced art growing up in New York City, and that’s how we filtered through all the pieces,” explains Chow. “It was fun to think about it that way—being exposed at an early age, then going to school, and then our professional career up to now.”

And there could be a new chapter in the near future: Bartow shared a rumor that a Cy Twombly print may inspire an upcoming collection.