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'Heist' promises a steal on art

Annual auction at Laguna Art Museum may have patrons shelling out $35,000. 'What drama!' director says.

January 30, 2014|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Elizabeth Turk, who contributed "X-Ray Mandalas: 32 Comb Murex," is one of 118 artists featured in "Art Auction 2014: The Art of the Heist," the Laguna Art Museum's annual fundraiser.
Elizabeth Turk, who contributed "X-Ray Mandalas:… (Elizabeth Turk )

Starting Feb. 3, a trove of artwork will be up for grabs at the Laguna Art Museum.

One hundred and eighteen artists — the majority of whom are from California — have donated mostly contemporary pieces, with a few older styles thrown in, for "Art Auction 2014: The Art of the Heist."

Preview week, which allows patrons to review, online or in-person, what's on tap and decide if they'd like to purchase anything, ends with the annual fundraiser Feb. 8.

The event starts at 6 p.m., with the action-packed live auction at 8 p.m. led by Christie's auctioneer Charlie Adamski. Bidding begins at 50% of each item's value.

"The museum is a nonprofit, and we depend on charitable giving to do almost everything we do," said the museum's executive director, Malcolm Warner. "In the case of the auction, we benefit from the generosity of the artists and others who give us the works of art — and from the buyers too. They know that buying something is a win-win for them and us."

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This year, longtime contributors Kim Abeles, Don Bachardy, Tony DeLap, Jimi Gleason, Joe Goode and others will be joined by first-timers including Don Suggs, Elizabeth Turk, Shepard Fairey and Steve Roden.

Turk, who as a child went door to door in Eastbluff with a wagon piled high with artwork, can't remember a time when she could bear to do anything other than create. Art, which the sculptor believes should be a part of her local community, helps the 52-year-old Newport Beach resident make sense of her surroundings.

"Malcolm Warner has brought a new excitement, and I want to be part of [that]," said Turk, whose work is called "X-Ray Mandalas: 32 Comb Murex." "It is a small gesture in this regard."

The artwork for the auction is valued between $200 and $35,000. A classic 1972 creation by "Light and Space" artist Laddie John Dill titled "Light Trap" is at the top of the price range, while Los Angeles artist Adam Mars' "I Loved You, Then I Googled You" is priced the lowest.

Although artists determine the cost of their work, buyers don't always shell out what's displayed on the tag — bidding wars can force prices even higher. To Warner, part of the fun is discovering the level of competition that faces each attendee.

The upcoming event, which also includes a silent auction, was inspired by the 1968 movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" and spotlights stylish décor from that era to give the evening a party feel.

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