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Art with an edge

Laguna Art Museum goes 'Underground' for its annual fundraising auction.

February 07, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Attendees had the opportunity to bid on 87 works in last year's silent auction at the Laguna Art Museum.
Attendees had the opportunity to bid on 87 works in last… (Photo by Eric Stoner )

The Laguna Art Museum is where the party's at.

Come 6 p.m. Saturday, the museum, decked out as an underground club, will host a slew of art aficionados at its annual art auction. Titled "Art Auction 2013: California Underground," the event features more than 100 works by California artists that will adorn the entire main level of the space. Live performances, silent and live auctions, and gastropub fare are part of the evening's lineup.

"It is a twist on a California contemporary speakeasy," Director of Special Events Sarah Strozza said. "The idea is to give guests not only a chance to be philanthropic, but a fun and edgy social event as well."

Initiated in 1982 by the now-defunct Junior Council, this auction is the longest running and most successful tradition at the Laguna Art Museum — a channel through which funds are raised to support exhibition and education programming. Bidding begins at 50% of the artwork's stated value.

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"For me, the best part of the evening is the live auction, this year run by a star auctioneer from Christie's, Andrea Fiuczynski," Executive Director Dr. Malcolm Warner said. "It's the excitement of seeing people put their artistic taste on the line. Plus the psychology of when they start bidding and how far they go. Of course, I'm hoping that on Saturday evening they'll go far. If you buy something you love, you'll soon forget all about how much it costs."

Brenda Bredvik, a 47-year-old painter from Laguna Beach and a staunch supporter of the museum, allows curators to select what they consider the best from a handful of her works. This year, she contributed a 60-by-48-inch oil painting titled "Mist.2," depicting an early-morning, fog-laden horizon suspended above the ocean.

"[The auction] gives collectors a chance to view works from local artists who they may not have been aware of, as well as possibly getting a very good deal —- all while supporting the museum," she said. "It's a win-win."

This event takes a year to plan — from preview week to gala night — with work beginning close on the heels of the previous year's auction, said Strozza.

"We target artists, galleries and collectors who can give us work of museum-quality — then within that group those we think we can persuade to donate." Warner said. "I'm pleased to say that most of them don't require much persuasion."

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