The Laguna Art Museum’s annual art auction bash, transformed this year with the addition of a late night party, drew 584 guests last Saturday and bids topped last year’s by 35 percent. The museum had anticipated 400 attendees for the event to benefit its education, exhibition and community outreach program.
Anticipation of the auction turning into a party, replete with klieg lights, ample food and libations and the creative output of 100 participating artists, 47 of whom mingled with guests in the gallery remade with low-slung lounges, tables and music, kept a generational mix of at least 100 guests dancing until close to midnight.
Altogether the event fetched $182,000, an amount that topped last year’s take by $50,000.
At least 14 of the auctioned works sold at or above stated value, said museum spokeswoman Marni Farmer. The four bestsellers included Tony DeLap’s “Summer Séance” ($17,000), “The Electric Fields II” by Theodore Svenningsen, ($12,000), “Blitz Page 1 of 4 (Study One) by James Verbicky ($7,150) and Laddy John Dill’s “Light Trap Triptych” ($6,250).
The top seller during the preceding silent auction was “Beverly Hills Adjacent” by Scott Yeskel ($6,500).
This year, curator of exhibitions Grace Kook-Anderson and the museum’s newly hired chief executive director Malcolm Warner joined Jim Nye on the auctioneer’s podium. Perhaps in keeping with the museum’s renewed spirit of community outreach, Warner also joined the after-auction party revelry.
The following Sunday exhibition of remaining works of art attracted lots of browsers but only brought one sale, said Farmer. “Must have been that it was Superbowl Sunday,” she pointed out.
Altogether 70 percent of the donated works sold and remainders can be viewed and bought on the museum’s website, www.lagunaartmuseum.org. Minimum bids start at 50 percent of the stated value.