‘Cool’ Auction Reflects Museum’s Direction

David Milton’s “Airstream Boneyard,” courtesy of the artist and valued at $4,900, is in the auction. Starting bid: $2,450
David Milton’s “Airstream Boneyard,” courtesy of the artist and valued at $4,900, is in the auction. Starting bid: $2,450

At the 34th annual California Cool auction, eager buyers will confront 120 works of art from a stellar roster of Orange County and California artists.

“Both the quality and total value are higher this year than ever before,” Sarah Strozza, the Laguna Art Museum’s director of special events, said in an email, estimating this year’s art cache as worth $500,000. “The theme once again speaks to the art and artists that are represented as well as our mission to be the museum of California art,” she said.

A standout at the Feb. 6 benefit is Jimi Gleason’s metallic painting “Sienna Eve.

“The auction not only benefits the museum, but you might get an outstanding work you can’t get anywhere else,” said the Costa Mesa resident, who has contributed to the museum’s auction for a decade.

Another auction item, Bradford Salamon’s “KLH Turntable,” valued at $3,900. Starting bid: $1,950
Another auction item, Bradford Salamon’s “KLH Turntable,” valued at $3,900. Starting bid: $1,950

Bradford Salamon, now a resident of Monrovia but a former Festival of Arts exhibiter, donated an oil painting of a 1960s KLH turntable from a collection that features vintage household objects. “The turntable is a gift from a fellow artist and one I have actually used in my studio,” said Salamon. “I am happy that the painting will help support an institution that has raised the bar for art in Orange County.”

David Milton, a Festival of Arts and Sawdust Festival exhibitor well-known for his depictions of disappearing Americana, donated the watercolor “Airstream Boneyard.” “My affection for the museum goes back to 1996, the days when the Orange County Museum of Art tried to hijack it and I stood in the rain holding signs opposing the merger,” recalled Milton.

Local artist Fred Hope donated an abstracted landscape painting, “Tidal Zone Series-

Mark Chamberlain’s “Saving Green,” Courtesy of BC Space, valued at $2,400 is up for sale. Starting bid: $1,200
Mark Chamberlain’s “Saving Green,” courtesy of BC Space and valued at $2,400, is up for bid. Starting bid: $1,200

#64.” “I have given to the museum for three years because I like the direction in which it is going and it’s worth support. Besides, it’s cool to have a piece in a museum,” he said.

The auction also includes donations by artists Marlo, Cathy and Jesse Bartels, Gene Cooper, Chris Gwaltney, Kathy Jones, Jorg Dubin, Jeff Sewell, Wolfgang Bloch and Tony DeLap among locals and outside luminaries Peter Alexander, Lita Albuquerque, Helen Lundeberg, Ed Ruscha, Laddie John Dill, Shepard Fairey and Sam Francis, among many others.

Known primarily as a sculptor, Richard Serra contributed an etching, “Paths and Edges” #1.

Other works were donated by galleries such as Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Gagosian Gallery and Louis Stern Fine Arts, private foundations or individual collectors such as E. Gene Crain and Jeff and Bernadette Olsen. An anonymous donor gave a ceramic sculpture by the late Jerry Rothman.

David Ligare, whose one-man museum show just closed, donated the painting “Rock and Sea,” and Mark Chamberlain, whose “The Canyon Project: Artivism” show ran concurrently, gave the photograph “Saving Green.” Photographs including Jacques Garnier’s “Against All Odds” are still relative rarities.

Beginning at 6 p.m. 90 works will be available for bid by a silent auction. The evening will progress to the 8 p.m. live auction conducted by Aaron Bastian of Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers and the “Antiques Roadshow.

Proceeds from the auction are earmarked for education and exhibition programs. Last year’s California Cool attracted more than 400 potential bidders and took in $300,000.

“The museum hopes to give collectors, both seasoned and new, the opportunity to bid on quality artwork, enjoy a great party, and help support the museum’s programming. There’s something for every taste and pocketbook,” wrote Strozza.

The museum also recently received a $1 million four-year matching grant from the city, which will be restricted for facility improvements, acquiring art and reducing long-term debt, but not for daily operating expenses, explained Robert Hayden III, the museum’s chairman. “The grant will give us leverage to appeal to new donors,” he said.

The museum currently welcomes 2,000 children annually in a school tour program. By 2018, the museum’s centenary, the aim is to increase that number to 5,000, Strozza said.

Works of art can be previewed online beginning Jan. 31 and tickets, $125 to $150, available at 949 494-89871 ext. 203.


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