One of the most highly anticipated art events in Southern California returns on Saturday, May 3, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., when the Santa Monica Museum of Art hosts its fourth annual INCOGNITO, a unique exhibition and art sale of works in an 8" x 10" format, created by hundreds of acclaimed artists from Los Angeles and across the globe. All the works in INCOGNITO are on sale for $300 each, and signed on the back. "Trust Your Instincts" to guide your selections, as artist identities are revealed only after purchase. ArtSlant was able to correspond with SMMOA about the upcoming extravaganza and how and why this event has become so popular. (Be sure to get your tickets now! ) Here is the "behind the scenes" discussion that took place.
One of the most highly anticipated art events in Southern California returns on Saturday, May 3, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., when the Santa Monica Museum of Art hosts its fourth annual INCOGNITO, a unique exhibition and art sale of works in an 8" x 10" format, created by hundreds of acclaimed artists from Los Angeles and across the globe. All the works in INCOGNITO are on sale for $300 each, and signed on the back. "Trust Your Instincts" to guide your selections, as artist identities are revealed only after purchase.
ArtSlant was able to correspond with SMMOA about the upcoming extravaganza and how and why this event has become so popular. (Be sure to get your tickets now! ) Here is the "behind the scenes" discussion that took place.
ArtSlant Team: How did Incognito begin? Why?
Santa Monica Museum of Art: We were looking for a different model for an artist-driven fundraiser, one that was democratic and did not trade on the names of just a few of the most well-known participants. Incognito has continued to attract a great following of contributing artists precisely because such a wide swath of artists is included and because everyone is treated the same (and well-treated!). The Museum takes just as much care and attention to detail with Incognito as it does with all of its exhibitions. Participating artists are each given 2 comp tickets and are encouraged to attend. It's a wonderful party atmosphere with collectors, aspiring collectors, artists, and museum supporters all in the same place for a few hours. Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programs, Lisa Melandri, came up with the name. The other thing that is great about the event is that artists do not have to give one of their existing works (and thus take it out of circulation), but rather have the opportunity to create something new in a small format.
AS: What's the process for choosing artists?
SMMOA: It is a curated exhibition, with artists invited to contribute work by Executive Director Elsa Longhauser, Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programs Lisa Melandri, the Director of Education Asuka Hisa. Also weighing in are other colleagues on staff and the members of the Incognito benefit committee.
AS: Does the museum show many of the artists who are included in Incognito?
SMMOA: I would say quite a few, (but by no means the majority).
AS: How many people generally attend Incognito?
SMMOA: We expect between 600 and 700 people to attend this year (2008).
AS: How does the sale work?
SMMOA: The real through ine of the event is "Trust Your Instincts." All the work is displayed with no identification (everything is signed on the back) except for a circular tag with a number that hangs right below the work. When you take the tag, that means you have bought the piece. You bring the tag to the cashier, pay your $300, (all works are the same price), and then, when it is available from the wrapping area, you get to take a look at who created the work you purchased. So, hopefully you are buying because you like what you see!
AS: So the purchase is a blind purchase. How does this play out?
SMMOA: It's so interesting to hear people talking intently amongst themselves trying to figure out who did what, artists included. Last year, one gal and her friend arrived late in the event and she really liked this one work that was pretty much sitting all alone in the corner. It was a sketch of a boat on the sea with a happy looking sun shining over the whole scene. She said it just appealed to her. It turned out to be the Yoko Ono. Last year also the two Sol LeWitt's sat on the wall for quite a while as people walked right past them. The year before the same thing happened with the Ed Ruscha. So much for people being able to tell who did what!
AS: Obviously there are people who know in advance which artist did which piece. How do you keep a lid on insider trading?
SMMOA: All the staff feel that it is a badge of honor to keep the "secret" of which artist did what work under wraps the whole way through the event!
AS: Lastly - being an institution that supports artists, have you ever experienced any conflict or difficultiies with asking artists to donate work to support an institution that is supposed to be supporting them?
SMMOA: It's heartening to find that some of the biggest proponents of INCOGNITO are in fact the artists. They look forward to attending with a guest and being part of a process where art is being purchased on its own merits, not because a name is associated with a work.
AS: Thanks so much and good luck on this year's INCOGNITO event!!
For more information visit SMMOA's website: http://www.smmoa.org/
This year's artists include:
Luciana Abait, Kim Abeles, Gerardo Yepiz Acamonchi, Lisa Adams, Simone Adels, Nick Agid, Cynthia Alexander, Rachel Allen, Terry Allen, Jami Allen-Snyder, Sophia Allison, Marcos Alvarez, Fumiko Amano, Eleanor Antin, Kevin Appel, Carolyn Applegate, Edgar Arceneaux, Skip Arnold, Charles Arnoldi, Chad Attie, DON BACHARDY, Hilary Baker, John Baldessari, Glen Baldridge, Devendra Banhart, Ray Barrie, Slater Barron, Gary Baseman, Chris Beas, Martin Beck, Tina Beebe, Quinton Bemiller, Sharon Ben-Tal, Tom Benedek, Billy Al Bengston, Jodie Berry, Guillermo Bert, Mariella Bettineschi, Joe Biel, Sanford Biggers, Enid Baxter Blader, Lauren Bon, Jill Bonovitz, Katy Bowen, Andrea Bowers, Mark Bradford, Leonardo Bravo, William Brice, Edgar Bryan, Elizabeth Bryant, David Bunn, Jeremy Burleson, Bruce Busby, Eugenia Butler, Luke Butler, Matty Byloos, Huguette Caland, Louis Cameron, Clayton Campbell, BARBARA CARRASCO, Karen Carson, Jamison Carter, Richard Carter, Cole Case, Alida Cervantes, Exene Cervenka, Carol Es, Eliza French and Jeff Charbonneau, Mary Christiansen, John Clendening, Xavier Cázares Cortéz, Norman Cowie, Steve Craig, Meg Cranston, Thomas Alan Cronk, Raoul de la Sota, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Tony de los Reyes, Steve DeGroodt, Ann Diener, Guy Dill, Laddie John Dill, Abby Donovan, Roy Dowell, Mimi Drop, Barry Dukoff, Sam Durant, Anna Dusi, Mark Dutcher, Mari Eastman, Ashley McLean Emenegger, Elizabeth Enders, Samuel Erenberg, Carol Es, Merion Estes, Vidal Pinto Estrada, Ned Evans, Kota Ezawa, Carolyn Fernandez, Bruria Finkel, Chris Finley, Caio Fonseca, Kianga Ford, Andrew Foster, Bryan Freeny, Caroline Furr, Joe Fyfe, Francesca Gabbiani, Charles Gaines, Vincent Galen Johnson, Steve Galloway, Harry Gamboa, Corina Gamma, Rico Gatson, Jordan Gaunce, Megan Geckler, Ana Marini Genzon, Milton Glaser, Marcelino Gonçalves, Yolanda Gonzalez, joe Goode, Jorge Gracia, Tim Granlund, Cameron Gray, Phyllis Green, Mark Steven Greenfield, Kojo Griffin, Margaret Griffith, Iva Gueorguieva, Shane Guffogg, Jody Guralnick, Mary Addison Hackett, Lynn Hanson, Kira Lynn Harris, Willie Harris, Karen Harter, Deborah Hede, Matthew Heller, Roger Herman, George Herms, Pixie Herms, Carlos Hernandez, Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Gustavo Herrera, Lynn Hershman, Katie Herzog, Gilah Yelin Hirsch, Thomas Hirschhorn, Asuka Hisa, Loren Holland, Cadillac Holmes, Violet Hopkins, Channa Horwitz, Brad Howe, James Howell, Salomón Huerta, Sara Hunsucker, Charles Irvin, Max Jansons, Ellen Jantzen, Michael Jantzen, Amparo Jelsma, Robert Johnson, Michael Joo, Jr., Sharon Kagan, Glenn Kaino, Yoichi Kawamura, Szajna Kellman, Kristi Kent, Sandrine Kern, Martin Kersels, Ellina Kevorkian, Linda King, Katlin Kirker, Bill Kleiman, Patricia Knop, Thomas Kovachevich, Joyce Kozloff, Barbara Kruger, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, Alan Kupchick, Robert Kushner, Suzy Lake, Julia Latané, Tom Leeser, Mark Lere, Les Levine, Joyce Lightbody, Annabel Livermore, Jay Lizo, Karen Lofgren, Bill Longhauser, Lasse Ernlund Lorentzen, Jean Lowe, Mara De Luca, Heriberto Luna, Mela M., Kim MacConnel, Daniel Maltzman, Daniel Marlos, Hudson Marquez, Luigia Martelloni, Virgil Marti, Thomas Müller, Kim McCarty, Robin McCauley, Michael C. McMillen, Rodney McMillian, Christina McPhee, Blue McRight, Adrian Meraz, Robin Mitchell, Nancy Monk, Lester Monzon, Mary More, Angeles Moreno, Jim Morphesis, Rebecca Morris, Aaron Morse, Andy Moses, Ed Moses, Joshua Mosley, Carter Mull, Martin Mull, Matt Mullican, Hillary Mushkin, Tucker Neel, Geraldine Neuwirth, Leonard Nimoy, Yarg Noremac, Laurie Nye, Lorcan O'Herlihy, Michael O'Malley, Michelle O'Marah, Pat O'Neill, Chris Oliveria, Ed Osborn, Ruby Osorio, Simon Ouwerkerk, Laura Owens, Edward Carlo Pacio, Liga Pang, Rosieta Pardo, Jeanne Patterson, RENEE PETROPOULOS, Raymond Pettibon, Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, Francis Pezza, Ruth San Pietro, Paul Pitsker, BRUCE POLLOCK, William Pope.L, Carol Powell, Nancy Goslee Power, Alex Prager, Vanessa Prager, Lori Precious, Astrid Preston, Stephen Prina, Stephanie Pryor, Rosamond Purcell, Bill Radawec, Lucas J. Reiner, Retna, Martha Rich, Marco Rios, Elwood T. Risk, John Robertson, Steve Roden, Frank Romero, Sharon Romero, Michael Rosenfeld, Rachel Rosenthal, Melanie Rothschild, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Eddie Ruscha, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Saber, Shirley Sacks, Gwen Mayer Samuels, Eduardo Sarabia, Larry Scharf, Lothar Schmitz, Michael Schnorr, Allison Schulnik, Josh Schweitzer, Peter Shire, Justin Siegel, Elena Mary Siff, Pasqual Sisto, Alvaro Siza, Keith Sklar, Alexis Smith, Barbara T. Smith, Joe Sola, Mariangeles Soto-Diaz, Brad Spence, Zackary Stadel, Randi Steinberger, Coleen Sterritt, May Sun, Carl Swallow, Katherine Sweetman, Henry Taylor, Stefon Taylor, Anita Thacher, Mark Todd, IM Toth, David Trulli, Robert Twomey, Carrie Ungerman, Miller Updegraff, Alison van Pelt, Jennifer Vanderpool, Tyler Vlahovich, Gary Ward, Ester Pearl Watson, Mary K. Weatherford, Marnie Weber, Ruth Weisberg, Brett Westfall, Stephen Westfall, Benjamin White, Pae White, Brian Wills, Fred Wilson, Millie Wilson, Steven Wolkoff, Eve Wood, Leslie Yagar, Rosha Yaghmai, Hiro Yamagata, Bruce Yonemoto, Buzz Yudell, Christina Zelinsky, Bari Ziperstein, and Sarah Zwerling
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