Saturday night’s stylish Art Project Los Angeles – a silent and live art auction at Bonhams on Sunset Boulevard – raised $180,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles. Among the more than 180 pieces of art from artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and featured artist Michael Becker, was a photograph of the late Marilyn Monroe by Lawrence Schiller. The estimated Gallery value was between $6,000-$8,000. After a brief bidding war, actor Alfred Molina secured it for $5,100.
There were incredible deals to be had for art lovers. The live auction was difficult at times, which some participants chalked up to the bad economy, with another suggesting that the gays in the audience liked looking rather than buying. The audience of about 150 fell silent when such outstanding pieces as the Monroe photo or the Picasso were presented. Then people wanting action piped up encouraging a bidding war, which made the small room seem more like an elegant boxing match with credit card bought- numbered paddles tossed up instead of thrown fists.
The Picasso “Tropical Plants” lithograph, with an estimated Gallery value of $14,000-$16,000 sold for $10,000. The Steve Walker “Where You Lead” Acrylic on Canvas, estimated at $10,000-$15,000, sold for $5,5000.
Here’s APLA’s press release about the event:
Los Angeles, Calif., June 30, 2012 – Celebrities and art lovers gathered tonight for Art Project Los Angeles – the third annual red-carpet art auction and gala event benefiting AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA). The event raised over $180,000 for APLA, which provides direct care services and HIV prevention programs to more than 11,000 Angelenos.
The evening began with a slew of celebrity guest arrivals on the “red” carpet, which was actually a grassy trail that served as the first introduction to the “California” theme of the evening. Celebrity guests included Sufe Bradshaw (Veep), Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street / Booker), Kathy Griffin, Robert Herjavec (Shark Tank), Alex Lombard (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Alfred Molina (Chocolat, Raiders of the Lost Ark), Mark Ordesky (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Judy Tenuta, and Marni Wing.
The event space itself was transformed into a celebration of life and art in California, complete with palm trees, beach balls, and floral arrangements accented with California oranges. Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as they took in the abundance of artwork that covered the walls of Bonhams, where the gala was held. More than 180 pieces of art were donated to, and featured in, the silent auction from a range of media including photography, ceramics, oil paints, mixed media, and more.
The night picked up speed as the bidding wars began during the live auction. Guests jumped at the chance to bid on works by Haring, Picasso, Ruscha, Warhol, and a number of additional notable artists. Among the most sought-after items was an acrylic painting, titled “King Tut,” created by artist Raul Alonso. Alonso is an APLA client and has been living with HIV and AIDS since 1991. He briefly addressed the audience before his work was auctioned, attesting to the importance of APLA’s client services, on which Alonso relies.
“My AIDS diagnosis brought me to the brink of death,” Alonso told the crowd of 300 live auction bidders, “but APLA brought me back.” His piece then ignited a bidding war, eventually selling for nearly $1,000.
Tonight’s winning bidders will gather at Bonhams tomorrow morning to enjoy breakfast – and to pick up the art that they won. Proceeds benefit APLA, one of the nation’s largest AIDS service organizations, which relies heavily on private support to operate a range of HIV care, prevention, testing, and advocacy programs.
ABOUT AIDS PROJECT LOS ANGELES (APLA) AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. With more than 25 years of service, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach. For more information, visit apla.org.
ABOUT BONHAMS Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further five throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Boston in the USA; Toronto, Canada; and France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 57 specialist areas. By the end of 2009, Bonhams had become UK market leaders in ten key specialist collecting areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, go to www.bonhams.com.