Museum PR Announcements News and Information

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to Host Biennial Art Auction April 6, 2011

Modern Art Council Presents Biennial Fund-Raiser in April

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will hold its biennial Art Auction at the museum on April 6, 2011. This highly anticipated fund-raising event organized by the Modern Art Council (MAC) will feature more than 70 lots representing an exceptional range of work by celebrated artists with strong ties to the museum. Auction items will include photographs, paintings, and works on paper donated by local and national galleries and artists. Proceeds from Art Auction 2011 will benefit SFMOMA’s world-class collection and educational programs.

The event will include both live and silent auctions during the course of the night. The live auction will feature some 20 works by such important artists as John Baldesarri, Mel Bochner, Mark Bradford, Vija Celmins, Chuck Close, Olafur Eliasson, Mark Grotjahn, Marilyn Minter, Dave Muller, and Richard Serra, just to name a few. This year’s auction will highlight works by artists who have had long-standing relationships with SFMOMA—artists who have contributed significantly to the history and stature of the museum.

The silent auction will feature some 50 works by artists who have been featured in SFMOMA’s New Work and SECA programs as well as artists included in the museum’s renowned photography collection, such as Tauba Auerbach, Leslie Shows, and R. H. Quaytman.

“The art auction is a moment to bring together key elements—artists, supporters, and outstanding art—that are so integral to the daily life of SFMOMA. With the dynamic combination this year of established and up-and-coming artists, the evening promises to offer new and exciting works of interest to collectors at all levels. We have very high expectations for Art Auction 2011,” says Art Auction Co-chair Annie Robinson Woods.

One highlight of the live auction will be Richard Serra’s drawing Track’s #30 (2007), which is estimated at $200,000. A native of San Francisco, Serra grew up visiting the Marine shipyards where his father worked as a pipe fitter. Although mostly known for his sculptures, Serra’s drawings have been crucial to his work for more than 40 years. The exhibition Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective will be on view at SFMOMA in fall 2011.

Another highlight is the work Starfield (2010) by Vija Celmins, estimated at $20,000 to $25,000. Throughout her career, Celmins has painted or drawn a selective repertoire of images: airplanes, the night sky, oceans, deserts, spider webs, and the surface of the moon. In these works she laboriously translates photographic details into paintings, drawings, and prints. Currently, SFMOMA has seven works by Celmins in the collection.

Untitled (2010), from the series Kinetics, by artist Ranjani Shettar is on the block estimated at $25,000. Shettar, based in Bangalore, India, has already received much international exposure, participating in biennials in Lyon, France; Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates; and Sydney, Australia—as well as at the Carnegie International. Exhibitions devoted to Shettar’s work have been presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston and by the Museum of Modern Art of Fort Worth. SFMOMA showcased the exhibition New Work: Ranjani Shettar in 2009, which was the artists’ first exhibition on the West Coast. Her work Me, no, not me, buy me, eat me, wear me, have me, me, no, not me, (2006–07) was featured in the inaugural exhibition in SFMOMA’s Rooftop Garden, which opened in May 2009.

Mel Bochner’s oil on velvet painting Ha, Ha, Ha (2010), estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, is sure to be a crowd favorite, as is a pencil-on-paper drawing by British artist Ewan Gibbs titled San Francisco (2010), estimated at $10,000. Gibbs’ pencil drawings are entirely composed of knitting pattern symbols—miniscule slashes or circles—on paper marked with a faint grid. Working from a photograph, Gibbs translates the image into delicate, discrete pencil strokes. The result is an image that is almost recognizable from a distance, yet significantly more abstract—almost invisible—at close range. A baseball fan at heart, the subject of this work is AT&T Park, in honor of the Giants’ 2010 World Series win. SFMOMA commissioned 18 works by Gibbs for an exhibition titled Ewan Gibbs: San Francisco in honor of the museum’s seventy-fifth anniversary.

Art Auction 2011 will begin at 5 p.m. for Benefactor and Patron-level supporters, featuring hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and early access to the silent auction items. At 6 p.m., general ticket holders will be welcomed for cocktails, tantalizing passed hors d’oeuvres, and gourmet food stations by McCall Associates. The live auction will commence at 7 p.m.

Art Auction 2011 is organized by the Modern Art Council, SFMOMA’s lead fund-raising auxiliary since 1934. In-kind sponsorship of Art Auction 2011 is provided by Bonhams and Butterfields, Napa Valley Vintners, the Painter’s Place Picture Framers, and Ship Art International.

Image: Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Full Color Butterfly 41.52), 2010; color pencil; 85 3/4 x 47 3/4 in.; estimate: $200,000–$250,000

Tickets for Art Auction 2011 are $1,000 Benefactor, $700 Patron, and $350 general, with a limited number of tables for six available at $7,500. For tickets or more information, please call 415.618.3263 or visit

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *