The Laguna Art Museum Art Auction 2012: California Art Lounge will feature 100 works of art by a blue-chip roster of California artists. But, this year organizers have changed the usual auction format of food and cocktails, silent auction, live bidding, and everyone pick up their treasures and go home, for a raucous, evening-long party.
Also, newly hired executive director Malcolm Warner and curator of exhibitions Grace Kook-Anderson will join auctioneer Jim Nye on the podium, enticing an already well wined and fed audience to buy art.
As in previous years, proceeds will benefit the museum’s education and exhibition programs.
Once the works will have found new homes, it will be out with hard chairs and in with club style lounges, mood lights, music and dancing, deserts and more cocktails.
Co-chairs Michele Monda, Sara Heeschen, Sarah Thorne-Markman and director of special events Sarah Strozza, with other committee members and volunteers, take credit for this brand new beat.
“We wanted to shake up the auction process and turn it into a not to miss event, a real splashy, fun party,” said Monda, co-chairing the event for the second year.
Artists from Laguna, Los Angeles and points beyond will attend, along with gallerists that represent them, such as Sue Greenwood, Joanne Artman, Vladimir Sokolov, to name the locals. “We were striving to get a large and diverse group of artists in keeping with the museum’s mission of focusing on the art of California,” said Strozza.
Tony DeLap who was instrumental in organizing “Best Kept Secret…, ” the hit show spotlighting the 1960’s art scene centered on UC Irvine, has donated his largest work to date, a 40×41 inch painting titled “Summer Séance,” 2010. Valued at $20,000, it commands a starting bid of $10,000. “It’s from my ‘green period’ and fairly typical of what I have done in the last year and a half,” he said. The entire gallery of available works can be seen on the museum’s website.
“Once again, I was struck by the generosity of the artists,” said Monda, confiding that she may not be able to keep her promise, made to husband Emil, to keep her hands firmly downward during bidding.
“This year, the museum anticipates roughly 400 guests, while last year brought 380, up 22 percent from 2010, and $100,000 in revenue, 19 percent more than in 2010,” said Marni Farmer, the museum’s spokeswoman. Last year 80 percent of works sold, topping 2010 by 20 percent, she added.
The museum’s overall fortunes appear on an upswing: The last fiscal year ended with a cash balance of $415,000, while 2010 left only $355,000.
For Laguna artists Marlo, Cathy and Jesse Bartels supporting the museum has been a family affair. This year, Marlo has donated a painting on tile, Jesse a ceramic tile piece, and Cathy an elegant collage. “Cathy and I have supported the museum since the mid-eighties especially since the money was earmarked for education,” said Marlo Bartels. “It is our local museum with a beautiful focus on art of California and we want to support it,” he said. The Bartels have been Laguna residents for 40 years, and Marlo has served on the museum’s board of trustees and its collection committee.
Collector Diane Stovall has attended LAM’s auctions regularly since the 1980s. “It’s always been a unique and fabulous time with friends, and new friends made and a great time to add to my art collection–I look forward to the next auction,” she said.
Preview week, Jan.31-Feb.4. The public is invited to bid on silent auction items. Free admission during preview week.
Jan. 31 Bonhams Art Appraisal Clinic 10 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m. Cost per item $10. Check website for covered items.
Feb. 4 Auction 6-9 p.m. Tickets $125.00 members, $150 non-members. includes food, libations, valet parking, after party. After party only, $40. 949-494-8971 x219 or www.lagunaartmuseum.org