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Cai Guo-Qiang, Marx’s Moustache, 2009, Gunpowder on paper, Signed and dated lower right, 300 by 200 cm, Est. $HK$1.5/2 million. Photo Sotheby's

Sotheby’s is delighted to announce that it is to offer the Cai Guo-Qiang gunpowder drawing Marx’s Moustache in the Hong Kong Contemporary Asian Art sale on 7 October 2012 to benefit the AsianCultural Council (ACC) in New York. Cai Guo-Qiang is one of the most important Chinese artists currently working in the US and is best known for using gunpowder and controlled explosions to create his artwork.

Marx’s Moustache was created using this signature process and is the one of the rare gunpowder works to depict a political figure. Proceeds from the sale will be used to create the ACC Cai Fellowship Program, which will allow two emerging Chinese artists to participate in individually tailored six-month fellowship programs in United States, annually. Marx’s Moustache is estimated to fetch HK$1.5/2 million (US$192,308/256,410).

Evelyn Lin, Head of Contemporary Asian Art at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, said: “Sotheby’s is delighted to be working with Cai Guo-Qiang and the ACC to offer Marx’s Moustache this October in Hong Kong. As one of the leading Chinese artists of his generation Cai Guo-Qiang has done an enormous amount to raise the profile of contemporary Chinese art both in the US and internationally.”

ACC’s Chairman, Wendy O’Neill, said: “As we prepare to mark our 50th anniversary the ACC is thrilled that this generous gift from Cai Guo-Qiang will mean that young artists in China will be able to follow in his footsteps by working in the US. The ACC Cai Fellowship Program will provide future generations of grantees the chance to explore new opportunities and foster unique transformations in their home communities.”

Marx’s Moustache
Historically, portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin were prominently displayed throughout China, including in schools and homes. For Cai Guo-Qiang, the most memorable aspect of the portraits which hung in his classrooms was the imagery of the subjects’ thick beards and moustaches. Like many Cai Guo-Qiang pieces, Marx’s Moustache clearly shows the influence of these images from his childhood.

The Asian Cultural Council
The Asian Cultural Council (ACC) is a non-profit foundation that awards grants to some of the most exceptional artists and cultural organizations in Asia and the United States. Through its unique fellowship program, Asian and American artists, scholars, and arts professionals take part in research, study, and creative work in the United States and over 25 countries in Asia, enhancing cross-cultural dialogue and building international networks.

Over the past 50 years more than 4,000 artists have benefited from ACC programs including Cai Guo-Qiang, who received a one-year fellowship to come to the United States in 1995. In addition to customized programming, ACC Cai Fellowship recipients will have special access to Mr. Cai and his Studio in New York City.