Digital auctioneer Paddle 8, an agency that combines the high-octane excitement of an auction house with today’s most advanced technology, offered a dizzying selection of pieces last night at David Zwirner. Offering pieces by some of our favorite artists including Richard Prince, Chris Ofili, Oscar Murillo, Raymond Pettibon, Dustin Yellin, Dave Eggers, Enoc Perez, Suzan Frecon, and many more, A Benefit Auction for 826NYC drew a crowd of both powerful collectors looking to build on their collections as well as art students and lovers just looking for a reason to see a vast array of beautiful work.
Proceeds of the auction will benefit 826NYC; a non-profit organization that works to ensure that students aged six to 18 get a strong education in creative writing. Having been bestowed with a love of reading and writing by some amazing teachers myself, the philanthropy behind the auction is one that resonates with me more than most.
Winnipeg-based artist Marcel Dzama organized the event, having been a long supporter of 826NYC; his watercolor and ink paintings portray whimsical worlds each of which tells its own story. Dzama credits the power of storytelling with informing his career in the art: “When I was a kid, my parents bought me a Fisher-Price Camera for Christmas,” he said in an interview with Paddle8, “I made films to entertain my sister.”
You didn’t need to bid on anything to get the most out of the show, however. It was presented as a group exhibition, but with names so big in the art world that it’d be hard imagining getting these artists together in any other setting. Here are five of the most interesting pieces shown at A Benefit Auction for 826NYC. But believe, there are many more that would make your jaw drop.
Mamma Andersson, ‘Abstint’ (current bid $3,500)
Using triptych and paper, Swedish artist Mamma Andersson’s ‘Abstint’ was an example of the artist’s ability to portray landscapes that amount more to a feeling and mood than any specific location. Andersson is interested in Sweden’s clash of beautiful nature and industrialization, exploring how the two exist together. In ‘Abstint,’ we see rather bourgeois homes looking familiar, but in a world isolated from all that is outside of it. Bid here.
Sue De Beer ‘Untitled’ (current bid $2,450)
New York-based artist Sue De Beer’s ‘Untitled” has previously been seen on the cover of fashion and culture magazine Flaunt and exhibited by Marianne Boesky Gallery. De Beer often uses photography, video, installation, and sculpture to explore the idea of time and memory, but in ‘Untitled’ we see a beautiful woman with her eyed blacked out surrounded by infrared light. The piece seems to suggest blocked self-perception. It is a striking image. Bid here.
Marcel Dzama and Spike Jonze ‘It is Time to Dance Again’ (current bid $2,800)
Marcel Dzama seems to be a favorite amongst prestige filmmakers: Gus Van Zandt, Bennet Miller, and none other than Spike Jonze are amongst his major collectors. Jonze interviewed Dzama for his book ‘Even the Ghost of the Past,’ and the two remained friends. Now, they are making art together. The pairing makes sense: within Dzama’s art and Jonze’s films exist an irreverent quality that offsets the human truths that exist within the work. In ‘It is Time to Dance Again,’ we see two costumed men lift a plainly dressed woman up cheerleader-style, while two creatures dance by both sides. Bid here.
Oscar Murillo ‘game play #1’ (current bid $15,000)
London-based Columbian painter Oscar Murillo was the subject of a not positive New York Magazine piece last year, arguing that he has been a victim of the hype-driven contemporary art machine. He has also been called a “modern day Basquiat.” With so much contextualizing surrounding the artist, it’s easy to forget just how freaking talented Murillo actually is. His work, often made with broomsticks and haphazard found materials, breathes magnetic force into otherwise mundane imagery. ‘game play #1’ is an example of his singular technique. Piling various colors of oil onto newsprint and pasted onto paper, the work doesn’t look like much at first glance. But when you are breaths away, you see patterns and forming that is utterly fascinating. Murillo’s success is warranted. He’s one of the modern day greats. Bid here.
Enoc Perez ‘Untitled’ (current bid $4,000)
New York-based Puerto Rican artist (and good friend of Autre) Enoc Perez has a choice piece at the auction. The untitled piece deconstructs a sexually charged portrait of a beautiful woman’s face with splashes of brown and orange color. Perez has an uncanny ability to transport lowbrow images of erotica to a new arena of highbrow aesthetics. And he always does it with a wink and a smirk. Bid here.