Members of the Laguna Art Museum began streaming into the California Cool Art Auction preview party on Thursday evening to view works by over 100 artists that are on display at the museum, all awaiting new homes. The 37th annual auction takes place this Saturday, Feb. 16, from 6-10 p.m.
A broad range of art is available in silent and live auctions with bidding, in-person and online, using the museum’s website to access the artsy.net site. Registration requires a credit card. In addition to making bidding prior to the auction possible, “this will allow for a competitive bidding environment the night of the event without anyone knowing who is bidding against them, so no hurt feelings,” said Genny Boccardo, museum deputy director. “There will be artsy representatives at the auction, and LAM staff have been trained to help people get set up,” she added. “We already have some bids on pieces in the auction.”
Local artists were well represented in sculpture, painting and photography. A cibachrome print, “Lip Service at Chicken Little’s,” by the late BC Space Gallery ownerMark Chamberlainis on offer at an opening bid of $500. A large-scale photo mounted on acrylic by Baldemar Fierro and an oil titled “Mood Indigo” by Kathy Jones are also offered. “Lavender in the Morning,” featuring the brilliant colors and bold brush strokes Maria Bertrand is known for, practically jumps off the wall. Tom Lamb donated a 40 x 30 inch photograph of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 2018 London piece “The London Mastaba,” a floating installation on the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Among others representing Laguna’s plein air painters, Michael Obermeyer donated “On the Rocks,” an 11 x 14 inch oil on board. Also donated, ablack metal fighter jet, almost six feet long, plastered with Rolex, Pirelli and Castrol logos titled “F-18-R3,” part of Jorge Dubin’s Corporate Jets series. It provides a tongue-in-cheek look at corporate involvement in the military. Opening bid is $3,750.
Shepard Fairey, also known for his inclination toward political commentary, donated a 24 x 18 inch screen print titled “Knowledge + Action = Power.” Opening bid is $150.
“I’ve got a really good feeling about this one,” Malcolm Warner, the museum’s director said in his opening remarks about the auction. The crowd broke into powerful applause when Warner thanked the artists who donated their works. Present among them was Tony Delap, seated against a wall and surrounded by admirers. He donated two untitled pieces of mixed media on graph paper and an acrylic on linen work titled “Card Trick,” which hints atthe 92-year-old artist’s skill as a magician in a give and take between flatness and suggestions of space.
Key art for this year’s auction was drawn from a print titled “Oasis” donated by Don Suggsshowing a palm oasis with his signature circle, in brilliant purple, superimposed over the black and white photo. Suggs also donated “Sight” in which a more monochromatic signature circle is placed over a black and white photo of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park. Opening bids for each begin at $1,750.
A favorite of Warner’s, “Red Lily with Delphinium” made by Robert Treloar using his own process of blocking color on canvas with acrylics and finishing the painting in oil to blend the colors to his desired appearance of softness is obtainable. Opening bid is $5,000. Also of note, one of 50 screen prints by John Baldessari, “Hands & Feet: Hands & Fish,” is available at an opening bid of $3,500.
Works by Laguna College of Art and Design graduates have also been donated. “Feelin Nuts,” is a 16 x 20 inch oil, still life of a Mr. Peanut toy positioned next to a shiny statuette of a Rockette-like figure, by Elizabeth McGhee. “Dandelion,” by Michael Harnish, known for large scale works, is a 48 x 36 inch rendering in vibrant yellow and green acrylics with a suggested opening bid of $3,000.
Several portrayals of mid-century California life prominently feature swimming pools. Paul Davies’ “L’Horizon Fade” features a golden sky, a turquoise pool and pink chaise lounges painted using stencils cut from his own photographs. The artist describes the scene as “simultaneously idyllic and unnerving; the colors are idyllic but no one is home.” The bid for the depiction of the Palm Springs resort opens at $2,000. Kenton Nelson’s tiny watercolor titled “The Dive” shows only a slip of the iconic turquoise pool and just the diver’s lower torso, but a generous expanse of blue sky and neatly pruned hedge one assumes is the backyard “fence.” Michael Childers’ print “David Hockney with David Stolz and Ian Falconer,” shows Hockney beside a pool whose bottom is painted with dark blue, wavy lines that accentuate the ripples in the turquoise water created by Stolz and Falconer. Hockney is making a collage using polaroid photos on the pool deck.
In Scot Yeskel’s “Case Study House” the turquoise pool dominates. It is larger than the towering eucalyptus and palm trees above and more prominent than the famous house surrounded by the flawless green lawn. Opening bid, $3,400. Another look at mid-century architecture is found in Danny Heller’s 8 x 10 oil painting titled “Mar Vista Entryway,” a serene portrayal of contemporary California living in the Mar Vista, California tract of homes designed by Gregory Ain in 1947 and most recently featured in the television show “Masters of Sex.”
Emblematic of LAM’s propensity for offering engaging experiences, art lovers can bid on the chance to have their portrait, or someone of their choosing’s portrait, drawn by Don Bachardynwho is known for making drawings that reflect the emotional state of his subjects. Starting bid is $5,000.
Member tickets for the auction are $125, non-member tickets, $150. Delicious cuisine and creative cocktails are promised. Proceeds from the event support Laguna Art Museum’s mission of collecting and preserving California art, providing critically acclaimed exhibitions and enhancing art education.