MCA Chicago's Art Benefit Auction 2015 Is Its Most Successful Event

The guest list for the MCA Benefit Art Auction, with tickets starting at $750/per person was a who’s who of Chicago’s modern art collection scene Eisens, Fields, Crowns, Kaplan, Lefkofsky, Pritzker coupled with a few hedgies by the name of Ken Griffin, Jay Jordan sprinkled in the mix, serious money.power.respect was in the room.

 

Steve and Nancy Crown and King Harris at the MCA Benefit Art Auction
Steve and Nancy Crown and King Harris
Larry and Marilyn Fields, Madeleine Grynsztejn, Don Kaul and Barbara Bluhm-Kaul, and Anne Kaplan at the MCA Benefit Art Auction
Larry and Marilyn Fields, Madeleine Grynsztejn, Don Kaul and Barbara Bluhm-Kaul, and Anne Kaplan
Nick Cave, Naomi Beckwith, and Theaster Gates at the MCA Benefit Art Auction
Nick Cave, Naomi Beckwith and Theaster Gates

 

The MCA brought out the big guns for this and it paid off as they raised $3.7 million at the Benefit Art Auction, calling it the most successful event in The Museum’s 48-year History!! So what made it so successful? To start, amongst the lot of artwork that was up for auction, 15 pieces-some made specially for the event which ranged in value from $30,000-$480,000 – went up on the live auction netting $2.23 million, #NBD.

Oliver Barker_MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART RAISES 3.7 MILLION AT THE BENEFIT ART AUCTION
Oliver Barker – Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman

 

The live auction, which I will get into in just a bit, was just the most fascinating thing to watch (if you caught some parts of it on our Instagram & snapchat @socialifechi), it was conducted by Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s deputy chairman who flew in from London. The event was co-chaired by Marilyn and Larry Fields and Barbara Bluhm-Kaul and Don Kaul which meant a good deal of their deep pocketed friends/art collectors made up a portion of the 500 guests that were in attendance.

Co-chairs_Larry and Marilyn Fields and Don Kaul and Barbara Bluhm-Kaul
Co-chairs Larry and Marilyn Fields and Don Kaul and Barbara Bluhm-Kaul

 

The night, started with cocktails, guests admiring the art works on display and putting in their bids through Paddle8. Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky attending with wife Liz, was spotted chatting up MCA Board Chair Anne Kaplan, whom despite a foot injury and a boot was in high Anne Kaplan fashion form.

The Kerry James Marshall piece Still-life With Wedding Portrait, 2015 (below) donated by the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery was truly the scene making piece, it was the talk of the night and honestly I thought for sure Ken Griffin was going to go for it.

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Cocktail hour was so engaging that it went a bit beyond organizers’ planned time (or perhaps it was the plan to get them comfortable and loose) and guests began to move to dinner only once that bar closed. With remarks from MCA Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn and the co-chairs with Don Kaul raising the “Applause” sign at pivotal moments, it was time to begin the main show.

Sotheby’s Chicago’s Gary Metzner manning the phones and Oliver Barker leading the charge with the first piece a Hugh Douglas donated by the artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery netted about $70k.
Hugh Scott-Douglas, Untitled, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery

 

The big ticket of the night were the Murarkami and Kerry James Marshall which fetched $270,000 and $700,000 respectively. Jay Jordan who was in attendance with wife Gretchen was the final bidder on the buzzed about Marshall with an estimated value of $480,000. The dizzying pace at which the auction went was incredible but the way Barker worked that room? Man, he was good.
MCA Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn with painting by Kerry James Marshall, Still-life With Wedding Portrait, 2015. Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery,

With the HMR designed tented dinner area still buzzing with energy following the auction, guests began to hop tables to chat and collect their wins before retreating back into the museum for a nightcap or two. A few next generation of arts collectors, there were only about two handful, that were spotted on the scene included Adam Fields and Jenny Haleuga, Allison Glenn with artist Tony Lewis who donated a yet to be made piece, EMERGE @ MCA members Tonya & Matt Geesman.

Tony Lewis and Allison Glenn at the MCA Benefit Art Auction
Tony Lewis and Allison Glenn
Tonya and Matt Geesman at the MCA Benefit Art Auction.
Tonya and Matt Geesman

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Photo credit: Jeremy Lawson, James Foster

Bolaji Sosan
Bolaji Sosan

pronounced: Boh-la-jee, like the Bellagio but w/o the O. SLC Founder and Editor, loves to write about topics at the intersection of career and lifestyle for today's young professional and future leaders.

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