Top Works to Collect in The Watermill Center Benefit Auction
The 24th edition of The Watermill Center’s Annual Summer Benefit and Auction presents an excellent opportunity for collectors, exhibiting talented newcomers, alongside many seminal artists of international acclaim. Bidding will support The Watermill Center’s year-round Artist Residency and Education programs, providing a unique environment for young and emerging artists to explore and develop new work. This year’s auction features works by over one hundred artists. The following selections highlight some of the most compelling pieces by artists at various stages in their careers.
I find Mary Mattingly’s work to be particularly timely in today’s political climate, as the artist is well known for her environmentally focused performances and installations. Cobalt Bundle 2 comes from a recent series that explored cobalt as a raw material and its history and effect on society. Here, the craft ceramics are bundled with string to represent how deeply intertwined the dark side of the material is with its decorative uses and importance in art history. The bundle also references the idea of the nomadic lifestyle, a common theme in Mattingly’s work. Cobalt Bundle 2 presents a unique opportunity for a collector to own a piece of her work, which is often ephemeral and exists only in experience.
Elliott Puckette’s ethereal drawings explore the lyrical and calligraphic nature of line. Puckette’s graceful lines combined with the fragile nature of the paper she draws on results in a beautifully delicate work, and is one of my favorites in the sale. Puckette is represented by Paul Kasmin, and her works are included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library, and the Fogg Museum, among many others.
Lucas Michael’s work has been influential to the larger queer aesthetic. His work uses a variety of mediums to explore, speculate, and question issues of identity, gender, and sexuality. In his neon works he uses abstraction as a sort of mask to hide the sexual themes and queer identity behind this series of work. Michael’s photography has been exhibited internationally, from the Getty Center in Los Angeles, to the S.M.A.K Museum in Gent, Belgium.
Paul Thek is widely known as one the first installation artists and his work has deeply influenced contemporary artists like Robert Gober and Mike Kelley. Thek was an expert draftsman and chronicled his everyday life through quickly executed newspaper drawings, a very important element of his process. In this 8 plate etching, the narrative arc of the overall work, precise organization of the print, and silent, meditative space between each etching recalls common themes found within his newspaper drawings.
Explore The Watermill Center: Benefit Auction 2017 on Artsy, and place max bids on more than 130 artworks. Preliminary online bidding closes Saturday, July 29th, at 4:00pm ET.