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MASS MoCA Benefit 2013
Auction Items

Celebrating music that is Made at MASS MoCA, our annual fall benefit in New York takes place on October 23 at 583 Park Avenue. The evening includes a live auction that will be conducted by Eric Widing, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s Americas.

If you are unable to join us in New York, you can still bid. Click here and download a 2013 Benefit Auction Absentee Bid Form. Fax a signed copy to 413.663.8548 (attention: Rebecca Wehry) by 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 or call Rebecca Wehry at 413-664-4481 x8157. We will confirm all faxed bids via email. If you have not received confirmation within 24 hours of your bid, please call 413-664-4481 x8100.  

Questions?  Email

We’re auctioning off great items - art, music, experiences - happy bidding!

Lot #1

Robert Rauschenberg 
Album cover for Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues LP
Limited edition, clear vinyl disc, sealed 
Signed by David Byrne

Speaking in Tongues was a breakthrough for the band Talking Heads, with “Burning Down the House” a Top 10 hit. David Byrne designed the cover for the album’s general release, and Robert Rauschenberg won a Grammy for his work on the limited-edition LP version (being auctioned). When Rauschenberg died in 2008, Byrne wrote about the experience:

I approached Bob Rauschenberg in the mid-’80s to design a cover for the Talking Heads record Speaking in Tongues. I had seen some of his black-and-white photo collages at Leo Castelli’s gallery on West Broadway and thought they were amazing, and I wondered what he would do with an LP cover... I was pleasantly surprised when Bob eschewed simply reproducing a work on the album jacket in favor of re-envisioning what the whole LP package could be... His package consisted of a conceptual collage piece in which the color separation layers - the cyan, magenta and yellow images that combined to make one full-color image - were, well, deconstructed. Only by rotating the LP and the separate plastic disc could one see - and then only intermittently - the three-color images included in the collage. It was a transparent explication of how the three-color process works, yet in this case, one could never see all the full-color images at the same time, as Bob had perversely scrambled the separations. 

I later became friends with Bob and his collaborators, and it was an incredible world to enter... Being around Bob was often like being on some kind of ecstatic drug - he inspired those around him to not only think outside of the box, but to question the box’s very existence... His openness and way of seeing was contagious and inspired others in their own work- not to imitate and make pseudo-Rauschenbergs, but to see the whole world as a work of art. As corny as that may sound, that’s what he sometimes did. 

This album is a confluence of two artists we love - MASS MoCA’s relationship with David Byrne began 17 years ago with Desire, his first solo museum show, and more recently, with a 3-week residency to develop Here Lies Love, which premiered at The Public Theater. Our relationship with Rauschenberg dates back to 1999, when he installed The ... Mile or 2 Furlong Piece for MASS MoCA’s grand opening.

Courtesy of Jane Coats Eckert, Eckert Fine Art
Estimated value: $500

Lot #2

Sopheap Pich Binoculars: From the Installation “1979”
Watercolor, ink, gouache on paper
36.5 x 30 inches

Cambodia’s most prominent contemporary artist, Sopheap Pich was born in 1971, went to art school in the United States, and now lives in Phnom Penh. He burst onto the New York art scene in 2009 with a highly acclaimed gallery show of sculptures made from woven strips of rattan and bamboo. In the last few years his work has been exhibited widely around the world, including Documenta in 2012 and an acclaimed solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City earlier this year. MASS MoCA fans will fondly recall Compound, his work featured in Invisible Cities, a modular bamboo and rattan installation that evoked both a modern city skyline and the temples of Angkor Wat. 

Sopheap Pich creates sculptural forms that address issues of time, memory and the body, often relating to Cambodia’s history, particularly his recollections of life during the Khmer Rouge period (1975-79). Tonight’s watercolor is a study for a work in a large installation that was featured at the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Australia, and purchased by the Queensland Art Gallery.

Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art
Estimated value: $4,500

Lot #3

Lucius’ Wildewoman
Vinyl record, signed by the band
Plus four tickets to The Bowery Ballroom (December 7, 2013)

You may have fallen in love with Lucius, the rising Brooklyn quintet, when they appeared at our Wilco Solid Sound Festival last June. Or perhaps you noticed when Rolling Stone put them on the “Band to Watch” list in August for their distinctive, catchy, indie-pop. Maybe you heard them on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert this past June, where NPR gushed, “I fell in love with one joyous, catchy song...That's all I had to go on - I'd never seen the group live - and though I expected fun, we also got fabulous. Not only are Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig a winning singing duo, but their charisma and charm help turn good pop songwriting into an endearing performance… I feel a strong album on the way. Pair that with a dynamic and lovable stage presence, and what you're witnessing from Lucius at the Tiny Desk sounds like the early days of a long career.”

Now’s your chance: this lot’s winner receives four tickets to a Lucius performance at The Bowery Ballroom in New York, plus an autographed copy of their debut vinyl album (released this month). As NPR’s Bob Boilen waxed: “Their songs are spacious and propulsive, the sounds around the edges quirky and sometimes percussive, and the music and the words built for maximum effect in the choruses. Every time, I walk away singing.”

Courtesy of Lucius and Tony Margherita Management
Estimated value: ... very valuable indeed

Lot #4

Matthew Ritchie The Bridge of Years; Trestle
Ink and pencil on dendril
13.875 x 17 inches

Matthew Ritchie’s work, which integrates painting, drawings, performance, sculpture, and installations, is an endless and complex landscape where various ideas and concepts can coexist. British born, Ritchie draws on a vocabulary of scientific notations, cartoon characters, mythology, Biblical tales and pulp fiction to illustrate the workings of his alternate universe. TIME Magazine listed Ritchie in 2001 as one of the 100 innovators for the new millennium for exploring “the unthinkable or the not-yet-thought”. Bostonians were delighted this fall when the Institute of Contemporary Art commissioned him to create a 5,000 square-foot outdoor canvas for the Dewey Square billboard overlooking South Station, marking the beginning of Ritchie’s 18-month residency at the ICA. His work has been shown in exhibitions worldwide, including the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Havana Biennale, and is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum and other institutions worldwide. In 2004, MASS MoCA featured a sweeping solo exhibition of Ritchie’s work, Proposition Player. This lot is a beautiful ink drawing, unique, from a series of five related works.

Courtesy of Matthew Ritchie and Andrea Rosen Gallery
Estimated value: $20,000

Lot #5

Sundance Film Festival
January 23-27, 2014

Imagine spectacular cross-country and downhill skiing, owling, the chance to see plenty of films and then dinner with some of the films’ directors, screenwriters and producers. Two lucky people will join a small group of MASS MoCA trustees and supporters heading to Utah for four days next January to the festival founded by Robert Redford to showcase new independent cinema. In past years, we've had the pleasure of having dinner with writer/director Dror Shaul, whose film Sweet Mud won the Sundance World Cinema Jury Prize while we were finishing dessert. We were the first to see game-changing films like Waiting for Superman and The Gatekeepers. We sang along and dined with filmmaker Morgan Neville prior to our private screening of Troubadours: Carol King /James Taylor

There are other pleasures: jewelry making, dinners by a roaring fire and hot stone massages. This trip (for two people) includes 4 nights at Redford’s Sundance Resort (named by Conde Nast Traveler one of the “Top 100 World’s Best Places to Stay”), 4 dinners, 4 breakfasts, numerous screenings, 2 spa treatments, and 2 activity passes (downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or an art class), plus VIP festival credentials. (Transportation not included.) 

Courtesy of MASS MoCA
Estimated value: $7,500

Lot #6

Robert Rauschenberg Study for Chinese Summerhall (Pink Pillars)
C-print, Ed. 11/30
40 x 30 inches

Robert Rauschenberg created one of the most diverse and respected bodies of artwork of the 20th (and early 21st) century. A prolific and influential artist, he bridged the movements of Abstract Expressionism, Fluxus and Pop Art. Since he was known primarily for his painting, sculpture, and printmaking, some are surprised to learn that photography was one of his greatest and most consistent passions; he considered becoming a photographer in the 1940s when he studied at Black Mountain College, and Edward Steichen selected one of his photographs for a 1951 exhibition at MoMA. Even after other work dominated his career, Rauschenberg never lost his love for photography, frequently incorporating photographic images into his artwork. In recent years, thanks to the care and attention placed on this oeuvre by curators, art historians, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, his photographs are receiving the attention they deserve.

Courtesy of Jane Coats Eckert, Eckert Fine Art
Estimated value: $4,500

Lot #7

Sol LeWitt Form Derived from a Cubic Rectangle
Gouache on paper, 22 x 30 inches

Sol LeWitt was one of the leading early figures in minimal and conceptual art, and has been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums worldwide since 1965. LeWitt helped redefine the boundaries of art in the 1960s with his notion that “the idea becomes a machine that makes the art”. Focusing on the essential nature of art, a simple line and elemental shapes like the cube and four-sided pyramid became the core modular units for an astonishingly inventive and wide-ranging artistic inquiry.

For the past five years, MASS MoCA has been the proud home of Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective, an extraordinary installation of 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings that span the artist’s career from 1969 to 2007. Realized in collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery and Williams College Museum of Art this milestone exhibition occupies nearly an acre of galleries fit out to LeWitt’s specifications. In honor of the 5th anniversary of Sol LeWitt at MASS MoCA, the LeWitt family has donated this work tonight, a rare gouache painting, hand-drawn by LeWitt. 100% of the proceeds from this work will support exhibitions by emerging and early-career artists - something Sol cared keenly about.

Courtesy of the LeWitt family
Estimated value: $45,000-$55,000

Lot #8

28’ Herreshoff sail with Crissy and John Stirratt of Wilco

Spend an afternoon next summer sailing with Wilco's John Stirratt and his wife Crissy in Muscongus Bay on the mid-Maine coast. Although famous as the bassist and multi-instrumentalist in the much-acclaimed indie-rock group, Wilco, John Stirratt has also led his own bands, most notably roots rock cult favorites The Hilltops (with his twin sister Laurie) and The Autumn Defense (with fellow Wilco-ite Pat Sansone). Crissy is co-founder of a program called Noteworthy Mentoring that provides opportunities for touring artists to mentor aspiring musicians, providing them with a first-hand glimpse into the music industry.
Besides being incredibly charming, interesting people, the Stirratts are also good sailors, and Muscongus Bay (derived from the Indian word for “fishing place”) is one of those rare finds - a body of ocean water that’s well-protected and not on the way to anywhere else, making it a haven for sailors, sea kayakers, and lobster lovers. As if that weren’t fun enough, the boat is a 28’ Herreshoff Rozinante, designed by L. Francis Herreshoff and widely regarded as one of the best small cruising boats of all time, a great performer in a wide range of wind strengths, and much admired as an exceptionally sweet-sailing boat. (For winner and 3 guests; mutually convenient date to be arranged.)

Courtesy of Crissy and John Stirratt
Estimated value: fair winds like this don’t come along every day

Lot #9

Jason Middlebrook
What's above and What's below
Acrylic on yellow birch
99.25 x 13.25 x 1.5 inches

For ten years, Jason Middlebrook has been exploring the complex relationship between man and nature in his sculptures, installations, paintings and large-scale drawings - from the taming of the suburban yard to the building of the Alaskan Pipeline. Audiences have delighted in his painted hardwood planks in Jason Middlebrook: My Landscape, now on view at MASS MoCA. A meditation on sculptural form and abstract painting, this new work indicates a shift in his practice since moving upstate from Williamsburg. Working both with and against the grain of his organically shaped wooden supports, the artist points to abstraction’s roots in the natural world while emphasizing a desire to control and even occlude the natural form with his use of hard-edged lines and glossy, industrial color. 

As noted in a recent profile on him in Architectural Digest (which featured the painted plank being auctioned), “Collectors and museums alike have responded enthusiastically.” Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and Institute of Contemporary Art both recently acquired pieces by him, and he is installing a site-specific installation on the grounds of the Albright- Knox. It’s no surprise, says The Boston Globe, that he has a thriving international career: “his work is beautiful...human-scale, beautifully finessed, three-dimensional objects that sit on the floor or confidently ride the wall.” 

Courtesy of Jason Middlebrook and DODGEgallery, NY
Estimated value: $20,000

Lot #10

Jenny Holzer
Pigment print
43.75 x 55 inches

For more than thirty years, renowned conceptual artist Jenny Holzer has presented her ideas and arguments in public places and exhibitions worldwide, including Times Square, the Guggenheim Museum, Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her medium, whether formulated as a light projection, a stone bench, an LED sign, a t-shirt or a painting, is writing. MASS MoCA is proud to have Jenny as a neighbor, friend, and member since opening in 1999. In 2007, she became one of our artists, when she turned MASS MoCA’s signature Building 5 gallery into her first interior light projection installed in the United States. With just light and text (plus a few bean bag chairs) Jenny’s Projections filled the football-field-sized gallery with an immersive environment of poetry that was equally intriguing, disorienting and soothing. Jenny has created something very special indeed: a unique black & white pigment print using an image from her 2007 Projections show at MASS MoCA. The text is from “Parting with a View,” a poem by the Nobel laureate poet WislawaSzymborska. This is a unique pigment print - not an edition.

Please note: Jenny Holzer asks that the buyer sign an agreement not to sell the artwork for ten years.

Courtesy of Jenny Holzer
Estimated value: $45,000-$55,000


MASS MoCA asks bidders to read the Conditions of Sale printed here.  By bidding at this auction, bidders are bound by the Conditions of Sale:

All net proceeds from the auction will support MASS MoCA.  Each work carried an estimated market value obtained from sources MASS MoCA believes to be reliable, but no representation of warranty as to the actual resale value of any work being auctioned is made or implied.  The estimated value is intended only as a guide to assist in your bidding.  Each work is sold “as is” per our Conditions of Sale.  If the auctioneer determines that a bid is not commensurate with the value of the work offered, he may reject the same and withdraw the work from sale.

Bidding at the auction is by raising your hand.  If you are a successful bidder, you will be asked to sign a bid sheet immediately upon the completion of the bidding of your lot.  At the end of the auction, an attendant will come and speak with you.  Payment in cash, personal check, or credit card is accepted; the transfer of the item(s) will occur when payment has been received in full.  You may take the item(s) home this evening, or MASS MoCA will ship the item(s) to you.  You must furnish a shipping address and instructions at the time of purchase.  All goods will be insured by shipper at the declared value based upon sale price indicated by auction.  Storage, shipping, and insurance costs are the responsibility of the buyer.


A special thank you to the artists who donated works for this benefit. We are also grateful to our sponsors, generous auction bidders, benefit chairs and committee, trustees, guests, volunteers, and friends who help make this event (and MASS MoCA) happen.  Since MASS MoCA’s inception, MASS MoCA has commissioned, fabricated, and incubated hundreds of major new works in the visual arts, dance, theater, opera and film, making it one of the most fertile sites in the nation for creating new art. 


1040 MASS MoCA WAY    NORTH ADAMS, MA 01247    413.MoCA.111 (413.662.2111)    INFO@MASSMoCA.ORG