04/25/12 - 0 Comments
An Evening of Art: The Brooklyn Academy of Music Celebrates 150 Years
The eighth annual Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Silent Auction concluded with stunning success at this past Sunday’s closing show. With tasty treats, great company and some of the best art in NYC, the well attended party proved the perfect way to celebrate BAM’s 150th anniversary.
With contributions from over 100 artists, the stately entrance hall to the Peter Jay Sharp building was brimming with amazingly innovative expressions of contemporary art — the best BAM has exhibited yet, according to many guests.
This was no meager showing. Some of the art world’s biggest names were included on the roster. Works by Andy Warhol, Kara Walker, Elizabeth Peyton, Ed Ruscha, Mickalene Thomas and Terence Koh all graced the intimate space.
Open to the public, the exhibit welcomed art enthusiasts as well as casual visitors. Though the caliber of the artwork was extremely high, little art knowledge was necessary to appreciate the pieces on display. This approachability was, according to Samuel Nigro, a local Brooklyn artist, what was so great about the closing show. No matter what you did or did not know about art, anyone could walk in and find a piece they adored.
Each of the works on display was also up for sale in the online-only BAMArt Silent Auction, hosted by online art marketplace Paddle8. With price points ranging from an estimated value of $500 to over $20,000, there appeared to be something for almost anyone. The award for most expensive picture went to Louise Nevelson’s “Untitled” (1971), which bore a sticker price of $22,000. Constructed from foil, newsprint, paper and spray paint, this subtle orange piece with hints of beige and charcoal tones was donated to BAM by Pace Gallery.
Nevelson’s was one of 18 where bidding didn’t end at 6pm on Sunday. These particular pieces, including works by New York painter Carmen Herrera, South African artist William Kentridge and Brooklyn artist (and frequent visitor to BAM) Mickalene Thomas, will go on to be featured by Phillips de Pury & Company in the Spring Contemporary Art Auctions.
Other works that stood out were those with a personal connection to BAM. Warhol’s 1970s and ’80s Polaroids, for instance, feature Martha Graham, whose dance troupe, the Martha Graham Dance Company, had been preforming at BAM since 1933.
Argentinean artist Guillermo Kuitca also created a piece especially for this year’s silent auction. Titled “Brooklyn Academy of Music (Howard Gilman Opera House & BAM Harvey Theater),” the stunningly abstract, organic-esque shapes done in neon greens and iridescent pinks are actually seating plans from BAM theaters. It’s the ideal modern homage to the venerable institution. Fun, fresh and a little out there, Kuitca’s piece was definitely the highlight of this year’s showing.
The main goal of Sunday’s event was to raise funds for BAM. This year, they are hoping to garner $300,000 from the proceeds of art sales, according to David Harper, one of BAM’s auction coordinators. Contributing artist Ryan James Macfarland pointed out that the auction does much more than just support BAM.
By opening its doors to artists, BAM plays an active role in Brooklyn’s artistic community. Though it is known for the preforming arts, this annual visual event helps BAM connect with a different crowd. The result is an excellent mix of skills and passions that creates a laudable annual art show. Whether you’re buying or browsing, be sure to mark next year’s event on your calendar.
Ed Ruscha | HERE AND NOW, 2009 | 3 color lithograph | 17 x 23 inches | Courtesy of the artist | Estimated retail value: $5,000