Saturday, November 21, 2009

The auction

ARTDOCS is a non profit organization in New Orleans since 1999, geared toward bringing free medical care for artists who cannot afford health insurance.
The annual art auction was held at the Hefler warehouse on Magazine Street ( New Orleans) in the evening last Thursday.

I went to the auction, as a spectator, but learned a lot from the experience.
Most of the art was donated by local artists or local galleries.
This is New Orleans, as we were perusing through the art before the auction started, there was music, free food and drinks (for a nominal fee at the entrance) all offered graciously by local restaurants and the local brewery.

The crowd was very cheerful. Nobody was there for serious business but in the true spirit of New Orleans, people came to have a good time and help a good cause.

This is what I learned:

- Do your homework. This appears obvious, and I thought I had done so... till I was surrounded by more than 70 pieces of art and that many artists names. I had gone through the lots which were available for viewing on the Internet, but it was overwhelming to be surrounded by all of them.

I should have selected a few pieces, do some research on Artprice or other site and decided how much I was willing to spend on each.

- Next is evaluating the condition of the work. One panel in acrylic was damaged and this would not have been obvious on the Internet (some people were bidding on the phone).

-Arrive early. I did and I was able to select a seat in the middle of the room, in front of the stage, but I decided to wander around. Later, I had to stand on the side...and missed a bid.

-Eat well, and even have some coffee, make sure you took care of all your natural needs for the next three hours.

-Unless you are really interested in a piece to be sold in the first half hour, try to hold your bidding till the last part, of the auction. There is a palpable fatigue of the bidders who are very enthusiastic at the start and then "are done".

What happened to me that evening: sloppy research, did bid on one piece but this was not aknowledged because I was not aggressive enough and not well situated, the auctionner did not see me.
I left early with a big part of the crowd because I had to work the following day.
I missed some interesting work, but it was my first auction.

CAUTION: this activity could be addicting.

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