Benefit Auction Previews: PRC and Aperture

In addition to the normal stream of photography auctions that we regularly cover here, I thought it might make sense to bring to your attention a pair of benefit auctions that are coming up in the next few weeks: one at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University (here), the other at the Aperture Foundation (here). Event details (tickets, venues, honorees, etc.) can be found below:

2009 PRC Benefit Auction
October 24, 2009

Aperture Foundation 2009 Benefit and Auction
November 2, 2009

In general, benefit auctions are surprisingly effective hybrid events that often provide some unexpected opportunities for collectors who are paying attention. On one hand, these events are of course first and foremost fund raisers: opportunities to support organizations whose missions match a photography collector’s interests. Both of these organizations enrich the photography community via their myriad efforts (exhibits, book publishing, artist support, lectures, awards, and the like) and both are worthy of the generous backing of collectors of all kinds.

On the other hand, these are auctions: places to acquire photographs, just like any other auction. Since benefit auctions tend to get their material as direct donations from artists or their galleries, the images are often offered at surprisingly low prices/reserves, especially in the silent auction portion of most events. And given that there are usually far fewer bidders than a normal photography auction, unless the enthusiastic spirit of giving gets overly lubricated (as it does at some events), bargains can certainly be had from time to time.

While we won’t do our normal statistical analysis of these two auctions, a few notes on each:

At the PRC, there are 35 lots in the live auction and 110 lots in the silent auction, ranging from vintage 19th century work to fresh contemporary images, generally weighted toward the newer material. The lot by lot catalogue can be found here. Works by Aaron Siskind and Nicholas Nixon (both in the live auction) are clearly of interest to us.

At Aperture, there are 13 lots in the live auction and 57 lots in the silent auction, mostly contemporary work, several by artists that have published books with Aperture. The lot by lot catalogues can be found here and here. Works by Malick Sidibé and Ruud van Empel caught our eye in the live auction, while images by Dana Buckley and Simon Chaput (in the silent auction) might fit into our collection more neatly.

In both cases, a quick review of the online catalogues is worth your time; there are plenty of excellent, reasonably priced pictures on offer, and both organizations need and deserve your support.

Send this article to a friend

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Articles

Pao Houa Her, My grandfather turned into a tiger … and other illusions

Pao Houa Her, My grandfather turned into a tiger … and other illusions

JTF (just the facts): Published by Aperture in 2024 (here). Softcover with dust jacket (17 x 22.5 cm), 124 pages, with 80 color and black-and-white reproductions. Includes a conversation between ... Read on.

Sign up for our weekly email newsletter