OCMA gears up for 50th anniversary auction

Gala event at the Newport Beach visual arts institution has sold out.

February 09, 2012|By Imran Vittachi
  • [Richard Jackson's "Complementary Colors, Face-to-Face."
[Richard Jackson's "Complementary Colors,… (Courtesy Fredrik…)

Saturday night's sold-out gala dinner and auction at the Orange County Museum of Art will be the first in a series of events and shows commemorating its 50th anniversary in 2012.

Proceeds from the gala and auction will directly benefit the Newport Beach museum's exhibition and educational programming, officials said.

Although tickets to the evening — $125 for museum members and $150 for non-members — are gone, collectors can still bid online or by phone for one of 50 contemporary California art pieces on the block.

These include Richard Diebenkorn's "Untitled XVII," a monotype whose fair market value was $150,000. The late artist's monotype is listed as the priciest among 24 works by long-established or noted and up-and-coming contemporary California artists that will be auctioned live on Saturday. The live auction will follow after the last of five tables in a silent auction for 27 other pieces closes for bidding at 7:39 p.m, according to an OCMA auction brochure.


Diebenkorn (1929-1993), whose association with OCMA dates to 1965 and encompassed at least four exhibitions, will also headline a much-anticipated retrospective exhibition showcasing his Ocean Park series. The exhibit, one of two standalone shows marking OCMA's golden jubilee year, will open there on Feb. 26 and run through May 27.

"We have a good mix of historical contemporary art and cutting-edge contemporary art," said Karen Moss, the auction's co-curator, referring to the arc of contemporary California artists ranging from those who broke new artistic ground in 1960s and '70s to a generation of noted artists emerging today.

Andrea Fiuczynski, an international auctioneer and president of the Los Angeles branch of Christie's auction house, will be taking bids during the live auction that will accompany a sit-down dinner scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Saturday.

The museum opened in 1962 under the name of the Balboa Pavilion Gallery. It was housed at the Balboa Pavilion and, in 1968, renamed the Newport Harbor Art Museum. The institution moved to its present-day location on San Clemente Drive near Fashion Island in 1977.

In 1996, the museum changed its name to the Orange County Museum of Art. It kept that name although a merger between the Newport Harbor Art Museum and Laguna Art Museum that formed OCMA ultimately collapsed.

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