Sunday, May 20, 2012

Front Room Gallery's annual WagMag Benefit at The Boiler



“WAGMAG a Brooklyn Art Guide, is a monthly art guide that promotes art venues and exhibitions in Brooklyn, New York, with a listing service of art exhibitions and events, with locations and times, community maps and critical reviews.
WAGMAG was established in 2001 by a visionary arts team to promote the arts in their local communities of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Over the years WAGMAG has grown to include other communities in north Brooklyn, and in 2008, in conjunction with ARTfront, Inc., re-launched its program as a non-profit guide to the arts in all of Brooklyn’s varied art communities
.”

The WagMag benefits are usually entertaining affairs, last year there were scantily clad ladies slithering about on drapery hung from the ceiling. No dangling lasses this year, but since The Boiler has at least 30’ ceilings that might have been a tricky proposition.
Plying the patrons and artists with absinthe, wine from a local Brooklyn vinter, and a loud DJ got the juices flowing. Jeanne had generously donated a nice framed work on paper, curmudgeon that I am, I offered moral support only.
Contemporary benefit art auctions can be fraught with peril for artist and collector, especially the kind of grass roots action typical at WagMag benefits. Frequently fellow artists are holding auction tickets, and the chances are you may know the person who acquires your work (or not). Flattery will get you everywhere!
Auction tickets are sold in advance for $225 each, and then all ducats are placed in a wacky looking contraption with an aluminum foil wrapped vacuum hose that’s supposed to suck random tickets up into an empty water cooler drum. There are usually some fairly well known artists that have donated art, so if you’re lucky enough to have your number picked early you might walk off with a little sack of art world equity.
On the other hand if you’re just some low level schmuck no one’s ever heard of and you donated a substandard work to begin with, you might find your piece still on the wall at the end of the night. (jeez, you can’t even give it away!)
As a collector if your number comes up later in the evening you’ve probably watched all your favorite picks get swept off the wall. Powerless, you just have to keep standing there crossing off your list ‘till all that’s left is the unknown dufus art.
Of course there may yet be some diamonds in the rough. It could be that the first tickets grabbed all the big shot artists, while missing the less obvious unheralded gems that only those with an insightful eye and insider savvy will swoop down to snatch at the last minute.
Jeanne and I lasted about 2 hours into it and then with her piece (and many others) still unclaimed we called it a night. Later on we heard that a well-connected artist we both knew had picked Jeanne’s piece not long after we left.
Ah, the drama wouldn’t have missed it for the (art) world. 



Art handling babes handling sold art.



Artist babe (mine).










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