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Montgomery Museum of Fine Art

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Month: January 2018

12 Things To Know Before Attending Art Auction 2018

We asked Contemporary Committee members Trey Sippial and Keven Belt what you should know before attending the 14th biennial Art Auction.

1. Help, I’ve never taken part in an art auction before!

Don’t stress! This is a safe place to try an auction out, we’ll have volunteer ‘bid buddies’ to help with bidding on your smartphone the night of the Auction, March 1. Plus, it’s going to be a fun party.

2. When does bidding start?

Silent auction items bidding begins February 16 at mmfaauction.com and ends on March 1.

3. Who selects the art?

For years, the Selection Committee has worked long months to build Art Auction collection. New this year, we were added as part of the Contemporary Committee. The members are a new part of the Selection Committee that is focused on finding works at an accessible price range that might appeal to younger buyers or fans of contemporary art.

4. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on art, why should I come?

The Contemporary Committee has selected some works that will open bidding at around $100, and a fair amount will likely sell for less than $1000.

5. Should I do any research in advance?

No prior research is necessary, but you can start browsing the auction items online and in the Museum’s galleries beginning February 16. Look for art that speaks to you.

6. How do I know that I’m getting a good value?

The selection committees consider this in the selection process. Artists’ resumes and career level are considered, along with a gallery’s reputation when selections come through a gallery.

7. Any budget advice?

There will be plenty of art that is very affordable with excellent values to be had.

8. Is it important to have a good poker face?

The vast majority of the items will be up for grabs during the silent auction, which is…silent. It is all very fun and most importantly a charity fundraiser for the Museum!

9. Should I be aggressive in my bidding?

Only if you want! (It is all for a very good cause.)

10. Any auction lingo I should brush up on?

None needed. The online auction is very easy and the live auction only requires paying attention to bids and bid increments of increase (which the bidder may set). It’s all made to be fun, and we’ll have volunteer ‘bid buddies’ to help with bidding on your smartphone!

11. Is there a work that you are particularly excited about?

“There is a lot of variety, but Melpomene by Cathy Locke is a piece that I have my eye on.” – Trey

12. Final thoughts?

We have hundreds of items in Art Auction inventory, from paintings in watercolor, oil, mixed media, sculpture in marble, bronze, and clay, decorative arts pieces, and jewelry. Artists are from all over the country, and we’re working with galleries from Santa Fe, New York, Charleston, and for the first time New Orleans.


Proceeds from the biennial Art Auction will directly benefit the Museum’s future acquisition, exhibition, and education programs for the River Region. We hope to see you there. Bid early and bid often to support your Museum and build your own art collection!

Click here to learn more about the evening.

Click here to purchase tickets for the event.

Museum Statement

Some stories have appeared on social media about three missing cards from an interactive piece in Uncommon Territory: Contemporary Art in Alabama. For those who are interested here is an overview of what happened.

In the exhibition, we chose to present a work designed by the artist to be interactive. The installation included a stereoscope viewer and a number of small, digitally printed stereoscopic cards, which the public was invited to handle and swap out in the machine. Unfortunately, someone took three of the seven cards from the display. While our security team is active and alert, these objects were small and the person was quick and deliberate in their actions. When we discovered the loss, we followed protocol by notifying the artist and reviewing our security footage but were unable to clearly identify the thief due to their posture. We did not file a police report since we could not track down the perpetrator, nor did the value of the loss warrant an insurance claim. We value the artist’s art and his contribution to the exhibition and felt a responsibility to him since we agreed to show the work without tethers, as the artist intended. We have removed the stereoscope from the installation and compensated the artist for the value of the set of the cards.

We regret that this theft occurred, but these risks are part of any interactive piece with small parts. Our security team does the very best it can, 24 hours a day, to protect the Museum, the artwork, and our visitors.

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