Missoula Art Museum Auction: See Art In Person, Bid Online | Arts & Theater
View the art in person, then bid online before and during a virtual event.
This is the model for the 2022 benefit art auction at the Missoula Art Museum.
The exhibit features 82 pieces, with renowned Montana artists everywhere – Beth Lo, Monte Dolack, Hadley Ferguson, Stephanie Frostad and more, alongside emerging artists and new names. As in years past, this is one of the most diverse exhibitions they’ve hosted, said associate curator John Calsbeek.
Mediums and genres range from landscape to portraits and abstraction in painting, drawing, textiles, ceramics and things you may never have heard of before – see Christine Joy’s sculpture from ‘a stone wrapped in woven grass.
Last year the auction was virtual and they did not show the work for logistical reasons, which they remedied this year.
“We really wanted to do a physical exhibit this year, in part because it’s a chance to honor artists and work with artists from our community,” said Brandon Reintjes, Senior Curator of MAM. Although the art is visible online, the scale and detail often does not translate.
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The show opens in the Carnegie Galleries, its largest space, on Friday, January 7, but MAM won’t be open late for the art walk. You can stop during regular hours, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The auction itself is a virtual event on Saturday February 5th. It is usually held in person with hundreds of people in attendance in the university center ballroom, with a boisterous atmosphere mixed in with food and drink and performers and supporters from across the state.
Going back to virtual was “a necessity,” said Laura Millin, executive director of MAM. This year, they aim to create a “bigger and more dynamic live event” based on the experience of last year. It will be an hour, with a live auction of 10 items and more produced segments.
Last year, they raised $ 98,000 for programming, which includes local, regional and national contemporary art exhibits throughout the year. This includes the Frost Gallery, which is devoted exclusively to contemporary Indigenous art. The museum is also free and introduces hundreds of local children to the art through its fifth grade art experience.
The show still has a community feel, so residents of Missoula will see longtime creators.
Members of the Pattee Canyon Ladies’ Salon have contributed pieces – you’ll see works by Stephanie Frostad, Kristi Hager, Nancy Erickson and Leslie Van Stavern Millar.
In Hadley Ferguson’s painting “Late Evening Sky Over Calm Waters” (acrylic on clay board), a rich sky overlooks mountains and a river. Ferguson’s large-scale murals include the Montana Women’s Mural at the State Capitol.
One of the first exhibitors is Bonnie Tarses, a textile designer and weaver well known in the city for her scarves. She made an untitled multimedia piece with dyed silk tightly tied around squares, like an abstract chessboard pattern.
Dave Thomas, an abstract painter from Idaho, has a piece dominated by three impastos that rise from the paper like cake frosting – an example of how works read differently in person compared to online.
Todd Forsgren donated a photograph, “Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra),” a highly detailed photo of the red-orange bird in a net. (According to his website, this is part of a series in which birds are captured in mist nets by researchers to temporarily take their weights and measurements.) Art professor and gallery director at Rocky Mountain College in Billings , he published his work in points of sale. like National Geographic, The Guardian and more.
A rare matched lot brings together pieces from artists who helped bring modernism to Montana. It includes a stoneware bowl by Frances Senska and a silkscreen print by her partner, Jessie Wilbur. Senska taught at Montana State University and included Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos among her students. Reintjes said their importance to art history “far exceeds” their national labor market or even their local knowledge.
The landscape is present through many mediums. MSU professor Gesine Jenzen donated a three-tone woodcut of a forest scene at close range, with careful delineation of the trees as they recede. UM professor Steve Krutek rendered a dense forest scene in charcoal that reminded Calsbeek of Lee Friedlander’s large format black and white forest scenes. Sheila Miles, a longtime Montana artist now based in the southwest, contributed to “The Top of Fall,” a classic mountain lake scene that draws on her long history of working in abstraction.
A number of pieces have been donated by Matrix Press to the School of Art and Media at the University of Montana. The Print Lab and MAM have a partnership that brings guest artists to Missoula to produce new work with the help of instructors and UM students, and then exhibit at MAM.
A monotype by Oregon artist Lillian Pitt (Wasco, Warm Springs, Yakama) features images that will be familiar to those who saw her popular 2019-2020 MAM exhibit, in which a mask submerged in the waters gazes out pass fish. Neal Ambrose-Smith, whose exhibition “Where are you going?” Is still on view, collaborated on a print with Jason Clark and James Bailey of The Matrix, in which each artist contributed their own distinctive imagery.
Millin said she likes to remember that the first auction was held to start the museum.
“Really, artists for the first supporters, the first patrons, the first donors to the effort through this auction and they have been doing it ever since.”
Artists donate pieces on a share percentage, so the money goes to the artists as well.
The auction takes place on Saturday 5 February at 6 p.m. It’s free to watch. Go to missoulaartmuseum.org, where you can view all articles now, see key dates, and find more information on how to bid.
This year’s auction includes 10 items that will be auctioned live during the virtual auction. The remaining pieces, for a total of 82, are split into two silent auction sections that end at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 5 and 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 6.
The live event will last for an hour, with longtime auctioneer Johanna Wells on board live from the gallery. All 10 coins will be auctioned on a tight deadline to encourage bidding wars. They are recording a few videos ahead of time to give the impression of high production compared to last year.
There are two sections of silent auction coins. From January 23 to 27, there is a ‘buy it now’ option (with a premium), before the auction opens on January 28.
On auction night, the first silent auction lot ends at 8 p.m. and the second lot ends the next day, February 6, at 5 p.m.
While going virtual was not ideal, MAM has been cautious with all of its events during the pandemic.
“We really hope we can restore this next year,” said Millin. “Not just the auction, but the MAM – and all of its events and functions. We are all so terribly deprived… and desperate for human contact. And that’s what art needs. Art needs people to see it and see it together and we miss the joy of that. But what do we do? We advance, we persevere.