LACMA Collectors Raise $3.1 Million for Saar, Asawa, & More
Ultimately all ten of the works offered to the committee were acquired. Six of the ten are by women artists (and 6 of the 7 contemporary lots are). The amount raised is reported as over $3.1 million.
For those not familiar with the process, the Collectors Committee is composed of museum supporters who pledge money to a pooled fund for buying art. LACMA curators make Kickstarter-like pitches for potential acquisitions. Committee members vote, and artworks are purchased in order of popularity, until the collective bankroll is exhausted or (as happened this year) everything is bought. Patrons can dedicate special funds to buy favored works, guaranteeing their acquisition and taking them out of the voting queue. That happened with the Saar and with a kinetic sculpture by Argentinian artist Martha Boto.
|Jennifer Bartlett, House Piece (small detail), 1970, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the 2018 Collectors Committee and the Schloss Family, © Jennifer Bartlett, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA|
|Hakuin Ekaku, Willow Kannon, 18th century, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the 2018 Collectors Committee with additional funds from an anonymous donor, Laurie and Bill Benenson, and Richard Wayne and Charlotte Wayne, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA|
|The Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta, Korea, Joseon dynasty, 17th century, painted paper and gilt wood,crown: 6 × 13 × 15 in., Bodhisattva: 38 × 25 × 18 in., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Florence and Harry Sloan through the 2018 Collectors Committee, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA|
|Parviz Tanavoli, Lion and Sword II, 1975, Bijar weave, 52 13/16 × 78 11/16 in., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Hope Warschaw through the 2018 Collectors Committee, © Parviz Tanavoli, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA|
|Martha Boto, Optique Hélicoidal (Mouvement), 1967, Plexiglas, aluminum, stainless steel, plywood, electric motor, 79 1/2 × 25 1/8 × 15 3/8 in., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Gayle and Tim DeVries through the 2018 Collectors Committee, © Martha Boto, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA|
UPDATE. As I was quasi-live-tweeting the Committee weekend, I wrote, "Wendy Kaplan's pitch mentioned the skyrocketing Asawa market and how this may be now or never. And Carol Eliel commented on the anomaly/scandal that a major Betye Saar is a relatively reasonable $96,000."
Tyler Green (@TylerGreenDC) commented: "Re the Betye Saar: If I was curator at any other art museum in America, I would read this, walk to my director's office and tell him/her that we should be buying, not just one piece, and now."