On an otherwise wintry quiet Friday night, Pilsen’s Mana Contemporary (2233 S Throop St.) was rife with energy as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) supporters gathered for its first faculty and alumni art auction benefit: Beautiful/ Night. The Mana Contemporary space featured each of the auctioned works on display, a large-scale installation, and ample dance space while DJ Matt Roan spun beats keeping everyone in high spirits (the open bar certainly didn’t hurt either). Amber Ginsburg’s roll film sculpture served as a centerpiece tying all the elements together.
As members of Chicago’s art scene mingled, drank, and placed bids, SAIC Dean of Faculty, Lisa Wainwright gave a lighthearted introduction to the live auction portion of the evening. SAIC’s ever dynamic president, Elissa Tenny, followed with remarks thanking staff, donors, and guests for supporting the school. Her appreciation for artists’ work really showed in her words:
We all know that artists have really shown us, humanity, the way forward. They also innovateways of being. Artists pursue the questions which are most urgent, the big questions, the intimidating questions, and the questions without tidy answers. And today’s student artists,designers, and scholars will shape the course of our future with the questions that they are brave enough to ask. And today, it’s your support that is helping our students move forward.
There is no better way to express what your contributions mean, than to hear from some of our students; so, we have a short video.
Several SAIC alums and faculty provided works to be auctioned through Paddle8, most notably, Nick Cave’s Soundsuit, 2012 which received a $85,000 offer for donation. Other featured artists included: Sanford Biggers—who recently had a feature in The New Yorker, Claudia Hart, Carrie Schneider, Jaume Plensa—who sculpted Millennium Park’s Crown Fountain, Angel Otero, and Joe Zucker, among others.
Guests could also purchase some beautifully made, limited edition pins by fashion designer Maria Pinto as well as artists Amy Honchell, Diane Simpson, Phyllis Bramson, and Cheryl Pope. The event raised over $615,000, which will help a number of students in their artistic pursuits.
Setting the stage for an exciting live auction, Sothebys Chicago Senior Vice President, Head of Office, Gary Metzner led thecharge with four works to be auctioned off. Michelle Grabner’s Untitled sculpture was auctioned for $13,000, Carrie Schneider’s Molly Reading Fanny Howe fetched $3,000, Zak Prekop’s Transparency with Blue Light sold for $5,400, and Rashid Johnson’s Untitled Anxious Drawing contributed $17,000. Proceeds from SAIC’s Beautiful/Night auction benefit event contributed to the SAIC’s ongoing Beautiful/Work campaign to raise $50 million to expand available scholarships, programming, and faculty support.
The night ended with dancing and desserts (as every night should) as the very first Beautiful/ Night concluded with great success.
Roger Price, Margaret MacLean, Tommy Walton
Shirley and Dr. Walter Massey (Former SAIC President)
Guest, Gloria Groom, Bill Zwecker, Gary Metzner, Scott Johnson
The School of The Art Institute Chicago President Elissa Tenny
Anita (SAIC Chair of the Board of Governors) and Prabhakant Sinha
Photo credit: courtesy
Want to keep up with our latest coverage plus exclusive event invites? Click here to get this and more scene worthy items delivered to your inbox.