When ART PAPERS hosts its 17th Annual Art Auction at Bobo Intriguing Objects on Saturday, February 27, partygoers will get to view and bid on 248 original works of art contributed by established and emerging talents from around the world.
Victoria Camblin, editor and artistic director of the bi-monthly publication, says the cross section of talent from a variety of regions will be “a great way to introduce new artists to our audience … and introduce new audiences to our artists.”
Established by Atlanta-based artists in 1976, the nonprofit organization was created to provide an off-center perspective on work being produced outside cities like New York, Los Angeles and London, while connecting local artists to a broader, more global discourse.
“The founders also wanted to offer a vehicle where artists, curators, collectors and gallerists could share practical information,” explains executive director Saskia Benjamin, “to nurture the creation of original works, encourage discussions around practice and seek exhibition opportunities collectively.”
Forty years later, ART PAPERS is still thriving in print, online and through their public programing.
Bojana Ginn, an Atlanta-based interdisciplinary artist from Belgrade, Serbia, donated a mixed-media piece titled Liquid Lines (2013, Board-mounted metallic print, laminated, 34 × 48 in.) to the auction. “It’s informative and inspiring to see so much talent in one space,” she says of her fellow practitioners, who must typically work in solitude and can feel isolated from other working artists. “The arts community is so siloed that you kind of forget how many great sculptors, painters, photographers and mixed-media creatives are working and living here!”
A former physician and scientist, Ginn’s process as an artist is informed by the scientific methodology she honed in medical school. Starting with “a piece of reality,” she explains, “I take it apart, magnify it and go into the microcosmos of a body … looking deeper than its cellular level.” As a photographer, this boils down to Ginn’s zooming in and using her camera like a microscope, thereby creating something different and discovering new elements within the body of an installation.
Other featured artists include Anita Arliss, whose mixed-media canvases are included in the permanent art installations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Bethany Collins, who recently completed a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem; and Justin Rabideau, who salvages wood from new construction sites and houses on the verge of collapse to create scaled pieces — from very tiny wall pieces to very large installations and large-scale sculptures — for his brightly-colored “Shim” series.
Arliss, whose No.7 (2013, Mixed-media on canvas, 40 x 59 x 1 1/2 in.) merges photography and oil paint to depict one of the oldest fire stations in Atlanta, has been a contributor to the ART PAPERS auction series since its inception 17 years ago. She says she appreciates the “local, homegrown feel” of the publication and the way guest editors are “allowed to focus on whatever captivates their imagination and attention in the arts.”
“I find it amazing how [the auction organizers] can hang so many different kinds of art,” she adds, “and yet it has a coherence and a beauty to it every time.”
The challenge of installing the show in a space that is not typically a gallery space is daunting, says Benjamin, and the curatorial process starts from the ground up. “We scout for local talent through organizations like the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, MINT Gallery, WonderRoot Community Arts Center — where they are foresting young talent and supporting established artists. And we look to folks who are doing exceptional work locally and out-of-town.”
ART PAPERS has also looked to Atlanta’s drag community to keep the party live for as long as the journal has been published. RuPaul was the subject of a cover story in her early days, and three-time emcees Jaye Lishe and Edie Cheezburger will return to host next weekend’s festivities. The theme is an ode to the 1970s, and though there is no official dress code, Benjamin stresses that she would never discourage guests to dress the part.
ART PAPERS will start uploading their entire catalogue of artwork up for bid as pieces arrive, and online access will be granted one week prior to the silent auction. Off-site bidding is also an option for anyone who pre-registers at ARTPAPERS.org.
The evening is intended to foster a strong collector base, introduce artists to collectors and galleries, and encourage philanthropy in the arts. But for artists like Rabideau, business does not have to preclude pleasure.
“There are only a few gatherings that are quite like it,” he explains. “There’s a lot of friendly competition amongst folks who are bidding on artwork … and I often find myself bidding on my friends’ work and the work of people I admire in the Atlanta area. It’s just a time to celebrate the artists in the community and the magazine!”