Emerging 2003

Last night I went to Emerging 2003 which was held at the Matthew Marks Gallery in Chelsea. This is the 2nd of these events that I have gone to. Emering is a beneift for ACRIA which is a non-profit organization devoted to studying new treatments for HIV-related diseases. It is a wonderful organization that appears to have solid support from the art community. Unfortunately, if this event is how they are going to continue to raise awareness and money, I will not be attending.

The concept of this event is that you can see work from supposed emerging artists that have created small works for this particular event. You can then purchase these pieces for $300, and the proceeds go to ACRIA. I went to the first event this summer. It was great fun. The art work was extensive. Each artist showed 3 pieces of their work. You got a sheet when entering the event telling about each artist and their work. There were people milling around with red dots. So, if you wanted to make a purchase, they'd red dot it for you, give you a number and you'd go make the purchase. The event started at 6pm and everything was sold by 6:30. Definitely an event not to be late for. I had purchased a very cool piece from a young artist Otino Corsano out of Toronto. He sent me a letter thanking me and later through email we've corresponded about his latest work, etc. Great experience.

Last night, was an awful experience. I got there around 5:45, since last time it was apparent that you should be there on time. There was already a line. We were all given ticket stubs in line. Finally, around 6:10, they let us in. The artists that were shown this time were far from emerging. Most of them had already been picked up by pretty impressive galleries. This time, it cost $20 just to enter the event. Last time, it was free. So be it. I went up there and took a look. Immediately this line formed to start purchasing. I made my husband stand in line while I checked out the work because the line was getting really long. You could not red dot the art work that you were interested in, you had to stand in line to buy it with the possibility of the artist having already sold. I finally made my way to the front of the line. I handed the woman my form. She reached behind her where there were boxes on the floor with each artists name on them. She pulled out the first piece of art that was on the top. This is the piece you get. I was incredulous. Basically, for $300 (plus the $20 to enter), you get to choose the artist of your liking and then they randomly pull a piece from the artist's box to give to you. What's up with that? Since when did collecting or having an appreciation for art come randomly out of a box.

$300 is a nice chunk of cash. You could buy a cashmere sweater, have an incredible dinner in NYC, you could pay part of your electric bill or phone bill, buy 25 new cd's (based on the price), you could even buy an ipod. So, i basically said, thanks but no thanks. I would have rather gone to your standard fundraising event for the price, talked to some people, had a few drinks, some appetizers and a bad chicken diner and have gone home. Next time, I'll opt for that.

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Joanne Wilson Joanne Wilson loves food, books, and music. She lives in New York City. Her husband Fred and children Jessica, Emily, and Josh are bloggers too. More »

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