A Fundraiser That
Also Promotes Collecting of Contemporary Art by Local Artists.
Hallwalls’ primary objective in organizing its first benefit
auction in 17 years–which, after a year and a half of planning, finally takes
place this Thursday evening, 6 PM, in Asbury Hall at Babeville–is to raise
much-needed funds in this most challenging of years for all nonprofit arts
groups. This year’s gala 35th-anniversary auction takes the place of the
usually annual Artists & Models Affair as Hallwalls’ major fundraiser of the
year, but only for this year. (Artists & Models will return in 2010.
The next auction isn’t planned until 2024!)
But of equal long-term importance to Hallwalls’ mission is a
very conscious secondary goal of kick-starting and encouraging an ongoing habit
in Buffalonians of collecting the sophisticated, world-class contemporary art
being produced by the large community of contemporary visual artists who live
and work in Buffalo, including many who have studios or live-work lofts in
rehabilitated industrial spaces like Buffalo Arts Studios (at Tri-Main Center),
Artspace Lofts, or the Essex Street complex where Hallwalls was born nearly 35
years ago. Many pieces in Thursday’s auction are by nationally renowned
artists, Toronto artists who have exhibited at Hallwalls, or artists from
Buffalo who now live and work in New York City or elsewhere. But the vast
majority of donated works are by artists still living and working in Buffalo.
“There’s a lot more cutting edge contemporary art being created
here in Buffalo than there is collecting,” says Hallwalls Executive Director Ed
Cardoni. “We’re hoping the high-profile nature of this auction with its
100-page full-color catalog and attendant publicity will expose more potential
collectors to the incredible quantity and, more importantly, quality of
contemporary art being produced by Buffalo’s nationally recognized visual arts
“So many first-rate artists live and make work in Buffalo,
graduate from and teach in its colleges and even its high schools, and work in
its nonprofit arts institutions, as well as all kinds of other day jobs, even
more than the dozens we could fit into a single evening’s auction. And now
there is finally a critical mass of commercial galleries springing up in places
like Allentown, where these artists can actually sell their work. We have the
great nonprofit institutions of modern and contemporary art like the
Albright-Knox, Burchfield Penney, UB Art Galleries, Castellani Art Museum,
CEPA, and Hallwalls itself that have tuned Buffalo in to currents in
contemporary art. The last piece we need to complete the picture and really
make all this creative activity flourish and keep our most talented home-grown
artists (and graduating art students) from leaving Buffalo is a culture of
collecting contemporary art.
“For example, we need all the people now moving into downtown
lofts and condos (in addition to the artists themselves, of course) to buy the
work of Buffalo’s contemporary artists to put on those stylish walls. Because
the caliber of work being made here by contemporary artists is as strong as in
any major art center, even New York City or L.A., and stronger than in many
cities much larger than Buffalo, such as Chicago, or my hometown of Boston.”
In addition to promoting contributing artists’ work with the
printed catalog and on-line auction gallery, Hallwalls has collected and posted
links to the artists’ web sites (for those who have them), or to other web
sites featuring their work.
“Of course we hope the few collectors of contemporary art we do
have in Buffalo, as well as novice or aspiring collectors, will start getting
into the collecting habit by purchasing works from our auction this Thursday
night. But we are really pushing the idea that after Thursday people should
continue visiting small commercial galleries and artists’ studios to add to
their collections in the future, in a way that will support all this amazing
contemporary art-making activity in a sustainable way over the long haul.
Below are web links to the work of most Buffalo (and former
Buffalo) artists participating in Hallwalls’ 35th-Anniversary Benefit Auction and featured in the auction gallery:
Agro, Laylah Ali, Meredith
Allen, Joanna Angie, Roberley Bell, Diane Bertolo, Ellen Carey, Millie Chen, Charles
Clough, Kara Daving, Jackie
Felix, A.J. Fries, Hans Gindlesberger, Megan Greene, Duayne Hatchett, Biff Henrich, Tom Holt, Ani Hoover, Bryan Hopkins, George “Afedzi” Hughes, Bruce Jackson, Jed Jackson, Eric M. Jensen, Jacob Kassay, Kevin Kegler, Becky Koenig, Catherine Catanzaro Koenig, Mark Lavatelli, Daniel Levine, Joan Linder, Polly Little, Joshua R. Marks, Gerald Mead, Lillian Méndez, Julian Montague, Nathan W. Naetzker, Gary Nickard, Nancy J. Parisi, John Pfahl, Ann Pibal, Alberto
Rey, Barbara Rowe, Christy Rupp, Kathleen A. Sherin, Catherine Linder Spencer, Chrysanne Stathacos, Ellen Steinfeld, Peter Sowiski, Rodney Taylor, Virocode, Alfonso Volo, Kurt Von Voetsch, Patty Wallace, Adam Weekley, Jacqueline Welch, Laylah Ali, Nancy Dwyer, Robert
Longo, Cindy Sherman.
Top image: “Weatherform” by Duayne Hatchett, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 22 x 1,25 in., 1978, $800 – 3,200. Hatchett is currently showing at the Burchfield-Penney Arts Center.