Venice Art Walk & Auctions prebidding builds excitement

Alison Saar is signature artist at Sunday's @veniceartwalk

This Sunday’s Venice Art Walk & Auctions -- a benefit for the Venice Family Clinic -- will bring together more than 300 emerging and established artists. In addition to the inherent draw of a Google Los Angeles-based silent auction and party, as well as gallery and studio tours, anticipation for the artworks themselves is mounting online.

Prebidding on a third of the contemporary artworks in the silent auction got started May 1 on Paddle8.com and ended Friday afternoon. The online auction raised more than $160,000 for the event, which continues on Sunday.

A lithograph by Ed Ruscha, "Here and Now, 2009," received 17 bids; a painting by Matthew Heller, “Forever, 2015,” received 10 bids. 

The auction will wrap up on Sunday at Google’s Venice space followed by an all-day party open to the public that includes food trucks, crafts and music.

Alison Saar is this year’s signature artist, as was her mother, Betye Saar, in 1993, which speaks to the multigenerational aspect of both the benefit and the clinic itself, says VFC development director Laney Kapgan.

“There’s this great thread of connection among the families and the artists involved," Kapgan says. "Andy Moses is the son of Ed Moses, Alison Saar is Betye’s daughter; and at the clinic, we help generations of families -- kids, parents and grandparents.”

In addition to helping promote the event, Alison Saar donated a cast bronze wall sculpture, “Sea of Fecundity,” valued at $24,000.

“It's about stages of fertility,” Saar says of the work. "The pomegranates are like ovaries; and the clinic deals with so many of those issues, so I thought it was appropriate.”

The annual event has nurtured longtime relationships with artists over its 36-year history -- regular participants include Ruscha, Peter Alexander and Sam Durant -- which also lends something of a “art star” quality to the Sunday evening festivities, Kapgan says.

“You get these crazy moments where Laddie [John Dill] and Chuck [Arnoldi], Ed [Moses] and Ed [Ruscha] are all standing out there together on the sidewalk. They were the ones that started this event over three decades ago -- and they’re still here.”

First-time participants this year include a crop of artists that Kapgan calls “the next generation of major contemporary artists from L.A.” Among them: Ry Rocklen, Adam Greener and Matthew Brandt. “They’re the new ones putting L.A. on the map today," she says.

Last year, the Venice Art Walk & Auctions raised about $632,000. Proceeds go toward providing healthcare for roughly 20,000 low-income, uninsured and homeless patients at 10 local sites.

“When you divide that amount by $50,” Kapgan says, “that’s 12,640 people who get to go to the doctor.”

On May 18, the nonprofit will debut a new outpost, the Venice Family Clinic Children’s Health & Wellness Center in Mar Vista.

Venice Art Walk & Auctions, Google Los Angeles, 340 Main Street, Venice. Sunday, May 17. Artist studio tours and exhibits, noon to 4 p.m. Silent art auction and community celebration, noon to 6 p.m.

Twitter: Twitter.com/@debvankin

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