MUSIC POWER couple Alicia Keys and Kasseem Dean, also known as “Swizz Beatz,” bought paintings by emerging artist Tschabalala Self, whose prices have risen along with her critical acclaim.
Two of the works — Blonde and Father — were included in the 29-year-old artist’s solo exhibition which opened Saturday at Art OMI, a sculpture park in Ghent, New York. A photograph of Mr. Dean and Ms. Keys standing in front of the paintings was posted on Mr. Dean’s Instagram page last month.
“We actually got three the same day, but one is being donated to the Brooklyn Museum,” Mr. Dean, a museum trustee, said Friday in a phone interview. “You can feel the energy from her work. It’s amazing that an artist can leave their vibrations on the work.”
Ms. Self, whose depictions of exaggerated black female bodies combine painted, printed and sewn materials, is among the most sought-after young artists. Her exhibitions sell out and her works have been shown at museums in the US and China. In June, her painting Out of Body fetched £371,250 ($460,000) at Christie’s, more than six times the high estimate and a record for the New York-based artist.
“She has a way of breaking the rules,” said Mera Rubell, a Miami-based collector, whose family foundation included Ms. Self in its annual survey of new talent. “We are not used to seeing a black female figure from a perspective of a female artist. It’s powerful.”
Mr. Dean and Ms. Keys, a multi-Grammy award winning musician, are well-known collectors. Their Dean Collection focuses on works by black artists. Their trove of photographs by Gordon Parks, the largest in private hands, was recently on view at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University.
“We would like to welcome the amazing @tschabalalaself into @thedeancollection,” Mr. Dean said in his Instagram post. “Her work will make waves in the culture 100%.”
The couple has been following Ms. Self’s work for some time. Mr. Dean included Ms. Self in an exhibition featuring black artists he curated in Los Angeles during Frieze art fair in February.
Ms. Self had her first solo exhibition four years ago at Thierry Goldberg gallery in New York, shortly after graduating from the Yale University School of Art. At the time, her prices were less than $10,000. Upcoming solo exhibitions include those at Baltimore Museum of Art and ICA in Boston, according to Ron Segev, owner of Thierry Goldberg.
Segev, who sold the paintings to Ms. Keys and Mr. Dean before the June Christie’s auction, declined to say what they paid. Gallery prices for the artist’s new works topped out at $80,000 before the record-setting sale, he said. — Bloomberg