Phillips announces The Crossover with Saint Fleur and Project Backboard

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Phillips announces The Crossover with Saint Fleur and Project Backboard
Delphine Desane, Journeyin' into motherhood, 2020-2021. Estimate: $18,000-25,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

NEW YORK, NY.- On 20 September, Phillips, in collaboration with Saint Fleur and Project Backboard, will unveil a fully functioning, site-specific basketball court at the auction house’s new headquarters in 432 Park Avenue. The court, which will be visible from the sidewalk of Park Avenue, will feature a commissioned wall mural and court installation by Brooklyn-based artist Steph Costello, and the space will be activated by programming with local students in collaboration with the BKLYN Combine, as well as free guided tours for children and teenagers. The court is also completely open to the public by appointment. This exciting collaboration, known as The Crossover, supports the sale of 13 works of art, which are being offered in the New Now auction on 28 September with proceeds benefitting the artists and Project Backboard directly.

Dan Peterson, Director of Project Backboard, said, “We are so grateful for the generosity of the participating artists and consigners who have graciously chosen to help us mark Project Backboard's international expansion, beginning with a court renovation in Haiti. All of our proceeds from the auction will go directly towards renovating community courts and funding local artists to create public works of art in the spaces, with a portion of proceeds additionally going towards Haiti’s earthquake relief effort.”

Gardy St. Fleur, Founder of Saint Fleur, said, “The Crossover unites my passion for art with my love of basketball. Growing up as a Haitian-American, I understand the transformative nature of both first-hand and wanted to be able to give back to the community that has fueled my growth and imagination. I am grateful to the artists who I champion and see the vision to support Project Backboard, and am grateful to Phillips who has supported this idea from its inception.”

Patrizia Koenig, Phillips’ Head of New Now, New York, added, “Phillips is delighted to have the opportunity to support this wonderful cause and work with Project Backboard and Saint Fleur in bringing this exciting project to fruition, benefiting those in Haiti, as well as the local community right here in New York. Passersby will be able to view the one-of-a-kind basketball court from the street level and we invite people of all ages to use the space and view the exhibition, which features an impressive and dynamic group of artists.”

Works being sold to benefit the charity include examples by established artists such as Robert Reed, Deborah Roberts, Rashid Johnson, and Yashua Klos, alongside a selection of emerging talent such as Bahar Bambi, Alteronce Gumby, M. Florine Démosthène, Jerome Lagarrigue, Robert Peterson, Julian Gaines, and Marcus Brutus. Deborah Robert’s Folding the Red into the Black, 2018/2021, is a unique Artist’s Proof hand-embellished by the artist specifically for this sale.

Further highlights include Milo Matthieu's Los Siete Infantes, 2021, which exemplifies the Haitian-American artist’s hybrid painterly language that probes both questions of identity and interrogate art historical legacies such as Cubism. In his work he draws on the practice of “psychic automatism;” as he explained, “psychic automatism is the practice of thought at its purest form, absent of any control exercised by reason, allowing unconscious thoughts to prevail. I believe that these subconscious thoughts are pulled from shared experiences.”

Delphine Desane’s Journeyin' into motherhood, 2020-21, marks the auction debut of the self-taught artist who began painting as a therapeutic practice to cope with stress and postpartum depression. Commissioned to paint the cover of the 2020 Sustainability Issue of Vogue Italia based on the strength of her work shown on her Instagram profile, Desane has since mounted her first solo show at Luce Gallery in Turin and will be included in the group show Convergent Evolutions: The Conscious of Body at Pace Gallery, New York (September 10-October 23, 2021). Desane, who is the daughter of two Haitian-born immigrants, has said of her practice: “The work has a lot to do with my own experiences as a Black woman, a Black mother, being an immigrant in the US, being a child of immigrant parents, and being French and Caribbean.”

Robert Reed’s San Romano, Legal Action, 1980-81, is a major painting by the late artist (1938-2014) that perfectly encapsulates the geometric abstraction for which he is celebrated. Reed left behind a remarkable legacy as both educator and artist in his own right. A student of Bauhaus artist Josef Albers, Reed forged a style of abstraction based on the “real” forms found in everyday life and notably had his first solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1973. A professor of painting and printmaking at Yale School of Art for 45 years, he notably became the first and only Black tenured permanent faculty at the time. Reed’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, among others.

During the exhibition, Phillips will also be selling copies of Common Practice: Basketball & Contemporary Art, the first, comprehensive, illustrated publication to explore the relationship between basketball and contemporary art, co-edited by Dan Peterson. Proceeds will go towards Project Backboard’s effort of donating as many books as possible into community, schools and prison libraries.

Project Backboard is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to renovate public basketball courts and install large scale works of art on the surface in order to strengthen communities, improve park safety, encourage multi-generational play, and inspire people to think more critically and creatively about their environment. Projects have included installations by Nina Chanel Abney at Chickasaw Heritage Park, Memphis, TN, Steph Costello in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, and most recently Faith Ringgold, St. Nicholas Park, Harlem.

Saint Fleur is a fine art advisory & management firm based in New York City and Paris founded by Gardy St. Fleur. Saint Fleur works to assist clients, including multiple professional athletes, to build purposeful collections that celebrate and elevate artists.

Phillips is committed to championing the values of Diversity Equity Inclusion and Accessibility, through integrating DEIA into our way of doing business, supporting marginalized communities, and fostering an inclusive workforce and workspace.

Basketball court access is free and open to the public; proof of vaccination and masks are required. For more information on the kid & teen gallery walkthroughs, or to arrange a special visit for local groups or organizations, please get in touch via

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