The Art of the Auction
Tailored to accommodate the art-buying novice to the seasoned collector, The Art Auction at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago is a formidable offering of some of the world’s most coveted pieces. On the evening of October 30, the brightly lit galleries of the MCA on Chicago Avenue will come alive, as hundreds vie for works by contemporary artists such as Ed Ruscha, Kiki Smith, Mark Bradford, Lorna Simpson, and Adam Ekberg.
For the first time since The Art Auction’s inception 40 years ago (the event is almost as old as the museum itself), the fund-raiser will take place at the MCA. At the helm of this endeavor are Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand, and Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, both couples of Glencoe. All agree that the shift of The Art Auction’s scenery will benefit the collector. “The venue will really put these works in the context of the whole museum’s collection,” explains Liz. “It will solidify the ties to the museum and our exhibitions in a very meaningful way. Many MCA artists who have had solo exhibitions will be represented in the auction in those same galleries.”
Leading the charge of an event of this magnitude is no small task: More than 100 pieces were acquired and will be up for bid during the live and silent auction. The long-standing tradition of the auction takes the work of many hands. Liz and Leslie talk of pieces they’ve seen in collectors’ homes that were purchased more than 30 years ago at the auction. “The MCA was the first museum to produce a benefit art auction in 1968,” explains Leslie. “In 2001, the event was reinvented and has continued to be a tremendous success. Many of the individuals that created and led the efforts of the very first MCA Art Auction are still involved today.”
The evening itself promises to be a grand affair, complete with cocktails, a dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck Catering, dancing, and, naturally, the live auction. The MCA snagged Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist of Contemporary Art, to act as auctioneer. “This is just like the auctions Sotheby’s conducts in New York and London—with all the excitement and energy flying as people bid for some amazing work,” says Liz.
Proceeds from The Art Auction directly support exhibitions and acquisitions for the MCA Collection.
Individual tickets for The Art Auction begin at $300, and table packages start at $5,000. To purchase tickets, contact Andrea Miller at 312-397-3868, or [email protected].