Monday, April 12, 2010

The MassArt 21st Annual Benefit Art Auction

On Saturday night, I had the privilege of working at MassArts Annual Benefit Auction. With the exception of not being able to sit for 8 hours, I found the experience all around fascinating. I had never actually been to a real live auction, and while the drama was obviously no where near as intense as cheesy bidding scenes in movies it was still very interesting to watch bidding wars over particular pieces or how certain pieces could barely even sell.

The first part of the evening (after general gallery browsing) was the live auction. My job was to carry each piece out as it was being bid for. I got to handle some exquisite pieces, including:

Fred H.C. Liang
Western Lake
Paper Cut on Chinese Calligraphy
Tuanzhi Paper, 58" x 29.5"

I'm such a sucker for cut paper and this one is unbelievable.

This other piece up for auction I found was more interesting to actually experience than to view as a piece. Created by a collaborative effort called Triiibe, this photograph (taken by Cary Wolinksy) features the identical triplets Alicia, Kelly, Sara Casilio (might I add, ALL MassArt alums). Most of their work plays on their identical looks, as does their performance. The three showed up in the same clothes they are wearing in the photograph and unless you knew them personally there was no good way of telling them apart. When their lot was called up for live auction their assistants mimed carrying up a heavy invisible frame, where the triplets posed to match the photograph as the bidding took place.

"Alicia, Kelly, Sara, Cary" TRIIIBE ‘01
Paint by Number
Archival Inkjet Print, 35" x 26"

The silent auction also featured some great work:
Nick Brandt
Elephants and Egrets After Storm, Amboseli 2007
Archival Pigment Print, 14" x 30"

Resa Blatman ‘95
Mild Rapture 1
Acrylic on Panel, 11" x 14"

Love the detail, especially the circles.

Sandra Mueller-Dick
Still Life with Pear
Watercolor and Varnish, 8" x 8"

I know that pear isn't real, but I still wanna eat it.

Give a look here for the other amazing pieces.
While all of the art was wonderful to look at the most inspirational part of the evening came when midway through the auction the school asked the attendees to raise their paddles for scholarships. They first asked for pledges of $5,000 which showed only one or two paddles, even the pledges for $1,000 didn't do too well. But when they got to the $500's and the $100's the paddles were flying up across the room. I got to watch a room full of total strangers give money to people they didn't even know to give them a chance to go to college. The applause would swell, the announcer got louder and louder as he shouted out the paddle numbers of donators, and there wasn't a single person without a smile on their face.

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