Saturday evening marked Pasadena Museum of California Art‘s tenth birthday. The museum is a cool California centric art destination that is about celebrating the new and contemporary in California art as well as tracing the art histories that have come out of the state. They do an excellent job and consistently are intriguing show after show after show. To kick off celebrating their tenth birthday, they held the 10 X 10 Benefit Art Auction, a means for PMCA suporters and the art hungry to get their hands on fairly affordable art by some of Los Angeles (and beyond’s) finest artists.
The event was a relaxed auction that replaced a mumbling auctioneer with a silent auction approach to art bidding. Works were mounted to walls with little tear sheets of bids. You had the name and description of the work, a description of the artist, and a starting bid. The prices ranged from $100 to $2500+, and people were willing to place bids regardless of price. The art was incredibly varied, too: a small Tim Biskup greeted you at the entrance while an Ed Fella poster was at the center of the room; Roland Reiss had a bright red painting that overlooked Adam Silverman of Heath Ceramics’ table piece, which was accompanied by other stonewares; Betye Saar had a 1984 collage in the show that shared a wall space corner with a surprisingly complimentary, literally two faced mixed media piece by the Clayton Brothers. Countless California art movements, histories, and stories were told in the art pieces, most of which were created within the year.
The majority of the artwork had bids and some–like the above John Baldessari–were hot items. He and Mark Ryden’s contribution gathered crowds of eager viewers, inspiring quiet bidding wars by the diverse crowd. Speaking of, it was very varied crowd that not only represented Pasadena but the museum’s supporters and those in Los Angeles who are actively buying art and attending art benefits. There was a cool dad with his cool pre-teen son, a lot of fabulously dressed older men and women, a table of young people who were singing along with whatever the DJ was playing (most notably some Hot Chip and new xx), and even a small white dog who was very well behaved given the large amount of people present in the auction space. Everyone had on name tags and complimentary drinks in hand from Magixology.
The event appeared to be a succes and, for us, it was definitely a fun night to be able to take a step into the art buying world. It gave us an idea of how much art works are priced and who is buying them in Southern California. Sadly, our small wallets did not allow us the ability to swipe up the Kim McCarty, Megan Geckler, Yunhee Min, and–of course–John Baldessari pieces we were eyeing. One day, at some time hopefully not-too-far-away, we’ll all be able to get our hands on works by these great Los Angeles artists. For the time being, we toasted PMCA and were so happy to be able to celebrate a wonderful Southern California museum.
PMCA is located on 490 East Union Street in Pasadena and is totally Metro accessible (they’re by the Gold Line Memorial Park station). They’re also very cool and with it, which you can see from their Kenny Scharf decked out parking deck (we took lots of photos: see below). You can celebrate the museum’s birthday this Saturday, which will feature Cool Haus and Pie ‘n Burger, a beer garden, a performance by Dunes (WHO WE LOVE), and a chance to check out LAYER’s A Loose Horizon and Edgar Payne’s The Scenic Journey.