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MASS MoCA Annual Benefit in New York
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If you cannot attend, you can still place bids for the auction items.

Fax an Absentee Bid Form by noon on Tuesday, November 15th.

Download Absentee Bid Form (PDF)

1. Robert Rauschenberg

Tap, 2004
Lithograph, Ed. 26/250
8 x 5.5 inches

Tap, a lithograph made by seminal American artist Robert Rauschenberg in 2004, was printed by Rauschenberg's long-time print studio, Gemini G.E.L., for a portfolio that included works by artists Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Ed Ruscha, among others. The portfolio was published to benefit the organization America Coming Together for the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Rauschenberg spent an eventful week in North Adams in 1999 to help install his self-contained retrospective, The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece, in the museum's signature Building 5 gallery for the grand opening of MASS MoCA.

Courtesy of Eckert Fine Art

Estimated value: $2,000

2. Sundance in New York

If you can't make it to Utah, we'll bring the experience to you. Four lucky people get to spend an afternoon and evening with MASS MoCA's performing arts curator Rachel Chanoff, who doubles as a Sundance film consultant. It's a fun, heady experience to watch films and then have dinner with the writers or directors who make them.

You tell us what kinds of films you like, and we'll customize a day of seeing two films in New York. (You might want to do this during the Tribeca Film Festival on April 18-29, 2012 or New Directors - New Films on March 21-April 1.) The day will end with dinner with Rachel and the filmmakers at the elegant Palm Restaurant, a classic American steakhouse. (Gratuity not included.)

Courtesy of Bruce Bozzi and The Palm Restaurant

Estimated Value: $2,000

3. MASS MoCA Kayak

Mare Liberum (Ben Cohen, Dylan Gauthier, Stephan von Meuhlen, and Kendra Sullivan)
Liberum Kayak VI: Sol Lewitt, 2011
Kayak, sail, and outrigger made of bamboo, plywood, re-purposed vinyl signage, zip ties, grommets, rope, pulleys, vinyl adhesive, and wax.

How can you have a party at a boathouse without a boat? Designed and hand-built by Mare Liberum (latin for "the free seas"), which is a printmaking, publishing, and boat-building collective based in New York, this kayak was fashioned by repurposing a MASS MoCA vinyl "billboard" banner, which serves as the 'skin' around a frame constructed of surplus plywood taken from Gowanus-area construction sites and renewable bamboo harvested in Queens. Mare Liberum has made work on and around the waterways of New York City since 2007 as a means to re-think the use of these public spaces. This past summer, the collective enlisted volunteers from North Adams to build boats such as the one seen in this photograph, as part of the Bureau for Open Culture's residency program at MASS MoCA, "I am Searching for Field Character." A beautiful sculptural object, the Liberum Kayak is also seaworthy; it can be paddled, or you can attach the mast, sail and outriggers all included and go sailing. Throw MASS MoCA a lifeline and bid generously on this unique vessel.

Courtesy of the artists

Estimated Value: $2,500

4. Extreme Art, Extreme Sport

With MASS MoCA's vast exhibition, Oh, Canada, opening next May, we encourage you to come to Montreal and see what's happening in the city's visual arts scene. With Jeanie Riddle (director and curator of one of the best new galleries in town) as your dynamic guide, this package for two starts with lunch and a tour of PARISIAN LAUNDRY, a former industrial laundry turned gallery devoted to living artists. During the afternoon she'll lead you to studio visits with artists Janet Werner and Valerie Blass, then dinner at Joe Beef (a Montreal classic in the heart of Little Burgundy) with prominent collector Nick Tedeschi. You'll spend the night in a 4-5 star hotel in the Old Town, where awaiting you will be Jeanie's hand-picked gift basket of local products (maple syrup, local cookbooks, jams, etc.) The next day you'll tour Montreal by bicycle with a private trainer from Cycle Technique, a triathalon-training specialist. (To be used April through June 2012. Excludes transportation.)


Estimated Value: $2,500

5. Nari Ward

GED Prints "Googly Eye Defender", 2006
Archival ink jet print
12 5/8 x 16 1/2 inches
Edition of 10 each plus 2 A/P

Dinner with the artist in New York

If you haven't been to MASS MoCA this year, we encourage you to visit and see Nari Ward's stunning exhibition Sub Mirage Lignum, on view through early April 2012. In the work offered this evening, Ward uses the Miranda Rights declaration utilized by law enforcement officers, which he frames with a leafy/googly eye domestic motif. Ward says: "The print is a response to the Patriot Act, which compromises our basic constitutional rights." Born in Jamaica and working in New York, Ward is known for examining issues surrounding race, poverty and consumer culture with installations of striking beauty. Ward has been included in two Whitney Biennials, the Venice Biennale, and Documenta XI, and his work has been exhibited at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among others. This lot includes dinner with the artist and MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish in New York.

Courtesy Nari Ward and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

Estimated Value: $5,000

6. Mark Dion photographs and "expedition"

A Meter of Jungle, 1992
2 photographs, 16 x 20 inches
Framed together
Edition 4/4
Includes personal tour

Intrepid artist Mark Dion, known for tackling the politics of representation in the fields of history and science, has donated a seminal early work, A Meter of Jungle, in which he retraced famed naturalist William Beebe's 1917 expedition to Brazil. Both Beebe and Dion dug up a square meter of jungle, looking at the biodiversity and politics of the landscape. In addition, Dion will take the lucky winner and three guests on a private tour of the American Museum of Natural History. If you choose to enjoy this adventure in May or June, he'll also take you to the famed Explorer's Club on East 70th Street, where our friend and neighbor, the Clark Art Institute, has commissioned Mark to install Phantoms of the Clark Expedition, inspired by Sterling Clark's scientific expedition through northern China in 1908. Dion, whose work Library for the Birds was commissioned by MASS MoCA in 2005 and who will be showing The Octagon Room at MASS MoCA in 2014, has exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Tate Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, and the Natural History Museum, London.

Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

Estimated Value: $6,500

7. Spencer Finch

Study for MASS MoCA Windows (Sunlight to Candlelight), 2007
22 x 30 inches

With a mixture of science and artful magic, Spencer Finch translates into material form the fleeting light conditions that often mark our memories from a particular sunset in Monument Valley to the moonlight over a New Mexico desert. For his critically acclaimed 2007 exhibition at MASS MoCA, Finch infused an entire gallery with the romantic orange-yellow glow of a candle's flame by covering the museum windows in various shades of colored glass panes thus transforming sunlight into candlelight. The beautiful study for the work (offered here this evening) recreates the same luminous moment in watercolor. Finch has exhibited both nationally and internationally at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Venice Biennale, the Hirshhorn Museum, and more. His work The River That Flows Both Ways, a multi-panel glass work charting the colors of the Hudson River, can be seen on the High Line.

Courtesy of Spencer Finch

Estimated value: $12,000

8. Director for a Day

It may be a mixed blessing to be director of MASS MoCA for a day, and this is yours to find out! Shadow Joseph Thompson as he meets with staff, visits an artist's studio, and lunches with a fellow museum director (maybe at the Hot Dog Ranch, a favorite of visiting artists). If you're lucky, you won't have to pick up a hammer and help mount an exhibition, but if we're on deadline, bring your art installation clothes. Weather permitting, Joe will treat you to an aerial tour of North Adams in his Grumman Tiger, laying out future development projects for MASS MoCA and the northern Berkshires. Dinner that evening will be with Berkshire cultural guru Nancy Fitzpatrick and her husband, artist Lincoln Russell, then a complimentary night at either the award-winning Porches Inn at MASS MoCA or The Red Lion Inn (your choice). After scoping out museum operations for a day, the winner will also determine where in the MASS MoCA budget his or her gift should be applied!

Courtesy of MASS MoCA, Nancy Fitzpatrick and Lincoln Russell, and Porches Inn at MASS MoCA.

Estimated Value: you tell us

9. Cai Guo-Qiang

A new gunpowder drawing by Cai Guo-Qiang, 39" x 29"

The successful bidder to be invited to view the pyrotechnic production (most likely in March 2012, in Los Angeles, where the artist will be preparing his next major exhibition for LA MoCA).

Cai Guo-Qiang is widely regarded as one of China's preeminent artists, his work fusing beautifully rendered imagery of searing power with ideas rich in eastern philosophy. Trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theater Academy, his work now encompasses drawing, installation, video and performance art.

While living in Japan from 1986 to 1995, Cai first explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, an inquiry that eventually led to his experimentation with fireworks on a massive scale and to the development of his signature explosion events.

Cai continues to develop his practice of drawing with gunpowder, which in many ways remain at the conceptual core of his work. Carefully arranging a variety of gunpowders on special papers (each gunpowder having its own burn characteristics, color shadow, and sparking pattern), the gunpowder is then ignited, the rapid sequence of burns leaving ethereal images suspended between the artist's breathtaking control of this most volatile of materials, and the uncontrollable marking accidents of fire and smoke.

n this extraordinary lot, the successful bidder will be invited by Cai to be present in the pyrotechnic studio (likely in March 2012, in Los Angeles) while the artist draws and ignites the work -- a vivid, unforgettable experience -- that will give this particular drawing a very rare and personal provenance.

Cai was awarded the Japan Cultural Design Prize in 1995 and the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, where he returned in 2005 as curator for the first China pavilion. He received the International Association of Art Critics Award (AICA) for Best Installation in a Museum (2005) for his landmark installation at MASS MoCA; the 7th Hiroshima Art Prize (2007); the 20th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize (2009); and AICA's first place for Best Project in a Public Space for Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms (2010).

His many solo exhibitions and projects in the United States include Cai Guo-Qiang on the Roof: Transparent Monument, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006; Transient Rainbow, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2002, and his retrospective I Want to Believe at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Courtesy of the artist

Estimated Value: for a print of this dimension, approximately $100, the inestimable value of the opportunity to be present at its making.

10. Anselm Kiefer

Aus dunklen fichten flog ins blau der aar
Forged lead, acrylic, oil, emulsion, ash, and chalk on canvas in steel and glass frame
190 x 140 cm (6'3" x 4'6")

Insisting that history matters, Anselm Kiefer nevertheless renders it elliptically, often through poetry or by reference to characters of great political and cultural complexity. In Aus dunklen fichten flog ins blau der aar, he does both. The painting takes its title the phrase also appearing as part of the painting itself from the first line of the poem Urlandschaft (Primeval Landscape) by Stefan George (1868-1933), the first stanza of which is:

From dark spruces the eagle soared into blue air
And from the glade below emerged a pair
Of wolves. slurped from shallow waters pooled
Guarded with rigid stare and drove their brood.

George a German, became something of an ex-patriot, spending much time in turn-of-the-century Paris (like Kiefer a hundred years later) where he surrounded himself with writers and artists like French Symbolists Stephane Mallarme and Paul Verlaine. Asked by an admiring Goebbels to direct a new art academy for the Nazis, George refused. With Paul Celan, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Ingeborg Bachmann (all important poets within Kiefer's oeuvre) George grappled as Kiefer grapples with cultural inheritance and the undertow of history and language.

Kiefer is among our greatest living poet-painters of war. In Aus dunklen fichten flog ins blau der aar, the aircraft does not soar into the blue like the eagle of George's poem Kiefer often uses lead-forged toys to denote the doomed power of the Luftwaffe, or the pretentiousness of the Nazi navy but rather dives bent and wounded toward the ground. And the ground, like in the best of Kiefer's works, accumulates a literal topography of damage with each elegiac stroke: fissured, frozen, charred (and here, howling wolverine), the resulting image as profoundly cautionary as it is exquisitely painted.

In 2007 Anselm Kiefer became the first living artist in over 50 years to be commissioned for new work by the Louvre Museum. In the spring of 2012, MASS MoCA, in collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation, will open a new 10,000 square foot building dedicated to the work of Anselm Kiefer.

Courtesy of the artist, with thanks also to Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Estimated Value: $420,000-460,000

11. Creative Kids, Cultural Literacy, and Job Training

We tackle the future on many fronts, and need your help. For younger children, MASS MoCA (along with partners the Clark Art Institute and Williams College Museum of Art) has been the backbone of arts education for the public schools. Every elementary student from North Adams and 3 nearby towns visits MASS MoCA twice a year (1,200 students and 100 teachers). Teachers are trained to integrate art into the curriculum: for every 1.5 hour visit to Kidspace at MASS MoCA, each child gets 20 hours of class instruction, integrating art with social studies, math, science, and language.

5,000 kids see performances every year by internationally acclaimed artists who visit MASS MoCA from Basil Twist to Bang on a Can. Each artist performs for up to 1,600 students (who have been prepped with curricular-based study guides), with a Q&A session afterwards with the artists. With school budget cuts, busing has become an issue, and MASS MoCA has started to offer a free bus program when possible.

For older students, we have a rigorous year-round internship program, which has prepared more than 400 college students for careers in the arts, institutional management, and design. MASS MoCA relies on interns for curatorial research, sound and lighting design, development events, and managing the box office; they are trained to be tomorrow's arts professionals and leaders. Interns spend an average of 14 weeks at MASS MoCA (some stay a year), with housing and stipend. The job placement record is extraordinary.

Estimated Value: $240,000 per year

If you cannot attend, you can still place bids for the auction items.

Fax an Absentee Bid Form by noon on Tuesday, November 15th.

Download Absentee Bid Form (PDF)

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