Robert Pattinson is curating a Sotheby’s auction in NYC

Robbert Pattinson is keeping things interesting for his fans—the 36-year-old actor, known for his roles in The Batman, Twilight, Harry Potter and a slew of other blockbuster and indie films, is not only also a singer/songwriter but now, also an art curator.

Pattinson has teamed up with Sotheby’s to curate an auction and exhibit for the end of this month that contains six works that personally resonate with him and speak to his own tastes in art, the auction house says. The collection spans genres, media, and artists, from the well-known to the up-and-coming such as Richard Serra, Willem de Kooning, Genieve Figgis and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, to present a “kaleidoscopic vision of contemporary art, from post-war to today.”

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“Curating this group of paintings has been a really exciting process and an honor for me,” Pattinson said in a statement. “To be able to experience and have a dialogue with these works according to my taste—and to place massive titans of 20th-century art next to living artists—has been really satisfying. As an actor, I’ve always felt a certain amount of synesthesia between different art forms and being able to connect them together—whether that is a sculpture or a song or an acting part, all at the same time. Acting has made me realize that there is an interconnectedness between all art forms, and it made the process of curating the sale a fascinating and fun experience for me.”

If you’re wondering why Sotheby’s tapped Pattinson to curate an auction, it’s simple. Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated Auctions has been working with influential figures to specially curate collections with work by the most sought-after post-war and contemporary artists since 2013. Past curators include Swizz Beatz, Margherita Missoni, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Aoki, Jay Chou, Ellie Goulding, Kim Jones and Cynthia Erivo, among others.

For Pattinson, it was about looking for artwork that speaks its own language and doesn’t feel like it “just exists for its own sake and has a presence that hums with a bit of life.”

“It has the ability to communicate with you on a kind of primordial level,” he said. “I sort of sway between things that feel very profound and cosmic and alien. Then even on the other side, I like subversive, naughty, slightly dangerous stuff as well…”

Below are his selections that he’s described in his own words:

“Untitled” by Willem de Kooning

Untitled by Willem de Kooning
Photograph: courtesy of Sotheby’s | “Untitled” by Willem de Kooning

Oil on vellum mounted on linen
Estimate: $1.8 million-$2.5 million

“De Kooning can capture so much energy, and this work feels incredibly fresh, present, and exciting. Looking closely, it is incredibly sensual and quite tasty. At this time de Kooning is still using the same set of tools, but he’s trying to create some kind of new form using the same framework as before. It represents an interesting period of transition.” 

“Rotation #9” by Richard Serra

Rotation #9 by Richard Serra
Photograph: courtesy of Sotheby’s | Rotation #9 by Richard Serra

Paint stick on hand-made paper
Estimate: $200,000-$300,000

“I love sculptors’ sketches. There’s an energy to this work, a kind of dynamism and Serra is just great at capturing movement. Up close, it’s just a completely different thing with an enormous level of detail to it. I love the shape of it, and it feels so much more dense and intricate, but still holds a lot of energy.”

“Old Rope” by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 

“Old Rope” by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Photograph: courtesy of Sotheby’s | “Old Rope” by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Oil on canvas
Estimate: $100,000-$150,000

“You can look at this painting and see Yiadom-Boakye is telling a story in color and texture and you can really feel that there’s a past and a future to her paintings. There’s a kind of mystery to her work and an abundance of stories in them, but they all feel very generous. She creates these characters that feel like they’re kind of waiting for you, which is something I really like about them. I just want to have one in my house, that’s my main reaction; ‘Yeah, I want one of those.’”

“Portrait” by Thomas Houseago

“Portrait” by Thomas Houseago
Photograph: courtesy of Sotheby’s | “Portrait” by Thomas Houseago

Bronze and Californian redwood
Estimate: $60,000-$80,000

“I recently discovered Houseago on Instagram and I find there’s something about his work that feels like there’s a presence that’s looming behind you and you turn around and it’s kind of gone. To me, they all feel like phosphenes when you are rubbing your eyes and those cryptic images come up – there’s something about them where they’re slightly disconcerting and strange but fascinating.” 

“Untitled” by Julie Mehretu

“Untitled” by Julie Mehretu
Photograph: courtesy of Sotheby’s | “Untitled” by Julie Mehretu

Ink, colored pencil, and graphite on paper
Estimate: $180,000-$250,000

“I have known about Julie Mehretu’s giant paintings, but this is the first one on a smaller scale that I have seen. She’s so amazing at portraying magnitude and abundance and I found this piece quite incredible because there is still a huge scope. I always imagined that certain paintings feel like they’re shot in slo-mo, like IMAX, where you can almost feel the splashes come up. I mean, it just feels so incredibly detailed and quite overwhelming—Mehretu is always very, very impressive.”

“Sag mir wo die Blumen sind (Where have all the flowers gone)” by Anselm Kiefer

“Sag mir wo die Blumen sind (Where have all the flowers gone)” by Anselm Kiefer
Photograph: courtesy of Sotheby’s | “Sag mir wo die Blumen sind (Where have all the flowers gone)” by Anselm Kiefer

acrylic, emulsion, oil and shellac on canvas
Estimate: $800,000–$1.2 million

“I like a lot of Kiefer’s works. Again, I was looking at a lot of different paintings in preparation for this and a lot of his paintings tower over you, but it’s all-encompassing at the same time. I was looking at a lot of his different works and it kind of seems like they have a very intense, kind of viscous gravity.”

“Kissing by the Window” by Genieve Figgis

“Kissing by the Window” by Genieve Figgis
Photograph: courtesy of Sotheby’s | “Kissing by the Window” by Genieve Figgis

Acrylic on canvas
Estimate: $30,000–$40,000

“There is a creaminess and sensuality to all of Figgis’ paintings, but also a poison at the same time. It kind of feels like you’re eating a cake and you chip your tooth on something in it and you can’t figure out exactly what chipped your tooth.”

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