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Wright Presents I Want to Know All of You: The Art & Collection of Jason Polan

Auction to showcase the largest collection of art by the visionary artist, cementing his reputation as a significant figure in the art world of the first quarter of the 21st century

Collection on view in NYC through May 2; live auction in Chicago on May 3

NEW YORK & CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On May 3rd, Wright will proudly offer at auction I Want to Know All of You: The Art & Collection of Jason Polan, which includes over 200 works and printed material from Polan himself plus a range of other notable artists, including KAWS, Shepard Fairey, and Marcel Dzama. Despite dying from cancer in 2020 at just thirty-seven years of age, Polan profoundly impacted the contemporary art world and the culture of post-millennial New York City.


Among several memorably ambitious endeavors, Polan was most celebrated for his Every Person in New York project, in which he attempted to draw every resident of the city, resulting in over 30,000 sketches, with highlights compiled in a 2015 illustrated book of the same name. The auction on May 3rd features selected original drawings by Polan from various projects, along with sculpture, photography, and ephemera (est. $3,000-5,000 and below). Together, with some of Polan’s favorite works by fellow artists, the sale serves as both a survey of his inclusive aesthetic and a tribute to his outsized contributions in a relatively short artistic career.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to present the largest collection of works by Jason Polan,” says Richard Wright, CEO of Wright Auction House. “Polan’s unique perspective has left an indelible mark on the art world and this auction celebrates his remarkable dedication to accessible artistry and his profound impact on contemporary culture.”

A Michigan native, Polan moved to New York in 2005 and began working on his magnum opus, Every Person in New York, in early 2008. This involved traveling all over the city to draw in his notebook regular citizens, and some celebrities, at random and by appointment, capturing fleeting moments that he shared daily via scanned uploads to his blog. In the introduction to Every Person in New York, Polan explained: “I like to do projects that involve a lot of people. There’s something about the idea of every person in New York that my mind could get around, more so than the idea of every person in America, or every person in the world. In New York, I could realistically, physically, get around the city to draw more than I could get around the entire world. Living in New York is something I think about a lot and I was looking for more ways to learn about it.”

In a posthumous tribute for Vulture, art critic Jerry Saltz compared Polan’s linework to Alexander Calder’s and stated that “Polan’s craft arcs out of the art world and into the real world in the ways that Keith Haring’s did.” Saltz commented glowingly on Polan’s sincere approach: “He emitted his own kind of beautiful psychic sunshine. Polan was an illustrator-drawer-artist of modern art and life. There was no irony in his work. His was an art of taking pleasure in and appreciating the people, places, and things of the world. His oeuvre is a mirthful illustrated encyclopedia of modern life, body language, styles, and habits.”

Like Haring, Polan was a quintessential downtown New York artist with an altruistic mission who drew inspiration from urban life. He also profoundly engaged his fellow citizens without pretension, which made him accessible and commercially appealing. Starting in 2016, Polan began collaborating with UNIQLO, Nike, Vans, and other brands, producing designs for merchandise and apparel, as well as Marvel Comics, for which he created a variant cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #20. Throughout the 2010s, Polan also led open drawing studios for families at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Polan’s curiosity and openness as an artist extended to his sensibility as a collector. The May 3rd auction showcases the variety of Polan’s creative output while presenting highlights such as: ink on paper drawings by Barry McGee and Winsor McCay (est. $2,000-3,000 each); a complete and crated Beautiful Losers Portfolio, 2006 (est. $7,000-9,000), with works by Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Cynthia Connolly, Harmony Korine, and others; Alec Soth’s inkjet print, Untitled (Dino at Truck Stop), 2011 (est. $3,000-5,000); compositions by Marcel Dzama, Bruce Timm, and Matt Leines; and publications/ephemera related to Andy Warhol, Joe Brainard, Raymond Pettibon, Wesley Willis, Joana Avillez, Stefan Marx, and more.

All works in I Want to Know All of You: The Art & Collection of Jason Polan will be on view in New York at High Line Nine at 507 W. 27th Street from April 22nd through May 2nd, timed to coincide with Printed Matter’s annual New York Art Book Fair, where Polan would regularly exhibit. The live auction will take place in Chicago on Friday, May 3rd, starting at 11 am Central at Wright, which is located at 1440 W. Hubbard Street. Those who wish to participate in person are welcome to attend. The sale will also accommodate advanced bids, telephone bidding, and live online bidding, through Wright’s web catalog accompanied by inspired visuals and engaging stories contextualizing Jason Polan’s life and art.

For media inquiries or further information, please reach out to press@wright20.com.

About Rago/Wright

Rago/Wright is a network of independently owned art and design brands in the auction industry. Rago and Wright joined forces in 2019, followed by the addition of LAMA in the fall of 2021 and in 2022 Toomey & Co. joined the firm. Together, the company brings $100+ million in annual sales, has a team of 100, and more than a century of combined business experience. With a national coast-to-coast presence, shared clientele, technology, innovation, and creativity, alongside expertise and shared passion, Rago/Wright is uniquely positioned to serve a global audience while maintaining a strong independent voice in the world of art and design.

Contacts

Sydney Portigal

wright@milkandhoneypr.com

Staff

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