The two seven-figure auction results for Johnson’s work remain outliers, but comparing them to primary market prices suggests his work is rapidly increasing in value. For example, Anxious Red Paint July 8, 2020 (2020), another work from Johnson’s “Anxious Red Painting” series, identical in size to the record-breaking work in Christie’s recent sale, sold for just over a third of that price, or $ 675,000 , at the Hauser & Wirth booth at the virtual edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach just six months ago. Two months earlier, the gallery had sold a much larger work in the series, Anxious red paint August 20 (2020), for $ 850,000 at the virtual edition of Frieze London.
Likewise, the primary market prices for works from the “Untitled Escape Collage” series have tended to hover between the six digits. Hauser & Wirth sold a 2019 work of the series – significantly larger than the $ 1.16 million example at Sotheby’s – for just over half that price, or $ 595,000, to Art Basel in the 2019 Miami Beach edition. And during the virtual edition of Art Basel in Basel last June, David Kordansky sold a 2020 work of the series for $ 475,000. With recent high profile institutional purchases like the Long Museum and the Metropolitan Museum acquiring another work from one of its signature ceramic tile series in March, expect demand and prices for these works in particular – and Johnson’s ensemble Continues to rise. On Artsy, the number of collectors inquiring about his work more than tripled from 2018 to 2020, and this year is already set to be its biggest on the platform.