ProjectArt, an organization that holds after-school art classes for young people at public libraries in low-income neighborhoods in New York City, Detroit, and Miami, is hosting a benefit auction at Red Bull Arts New York on April 28. The theme is “My Kid Could Do That,” and accompanying the auction will be an exhibition of artworks by famous contemporary artists before they were famous — actually, from when they were kids. So you can come see the early work of the art stars of today — including Sanford Biggers, Katherine Bradford, Cecily Brown, Will Cotton, Olafur Eliasson, Urs Fischer, Terence Koh, Tom Sachs, Laurie Simmons, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kiki Valdes, Wendy White, Dustin Yellin — when their parents were the only ones who thought they were geniuses (and they had to like what they did) and their gallery representation was Grandma’s fridge. If you can’t participate in the auction, you can also come by Saturday and judge your child’s creative output against that of people who actually make their living doing this stuff today.
“I remember I was very happy when I made this cat. When I stuck it in the oven to bake the clay, its head began to tilt and I kind of liked that.” —Urs Fischer (top image)
“When I was in high school, my grandfather passed away. I made this painting with him in mind though it isn’t really a portrait. It was inspired more by his presence, and his life in Texas, which was a fascinating contrast compared to my life growing up in Los Angeles.” —Sanford Biggers
“These works were made in the late 1980s. I was 8–10 years old. Most of the drawings in my archive are black and white as I am color-blind. Blue is one of the colors that I do see well and the gradient study is interesting in this context.” —Daniel Arsham
“Not much has changed in the past 40 years since I made this drawing.” —Tom Sachs
“Done with crayons on cheap paper, this drawing of two elephants represents my ongoing obsession with mother-child images and with being a non-conformist animal artist. Most kids would draw the elephant side view with four feet on the ground and a long trunk hanging down. I don’t think I ever saw two elephants do this circus trick but it certainly makes them more human and less wild. Other artistic points to consider are that I colored within the lines but not too carefully and that I used a wonderful magenta red crayon as outline. It would be years before I could get two figures to balance properly on one leg but here is proof that I was off to a bad start.” —Katherine Bradford