The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego reimagines art auction as digital event

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The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego reimagines art auction as digital event
Ed Ruscha, True Proof, 2018. Dry pigment and colored pencil on paper, 7 1/4 x 11 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist.

SAN DIEGO, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego had plans to host its biennial Art Auction 2020 at the Jacobs Building at MCASD Downtown in May, but as with most arts events across the nation, those plans have changed. The highly anticipated fundraiser will now be reimagined as a robust digital event featuring a silent and live auction, digital catalog, live conversations with curators and a virtual tour of the works.

The two week digital event will begin on Thursday, October 1 with a silent auction and will run through the end of the Live Auction on Thursday, October 15. The Live portion of the auction will take place digitally on Wednesday, October 14th at 6 PM and will be led by Sotheby’s Auctioneer Gary Metzner, Head of Office, Chicago. Collectors and art lovers from around the world will be able access the auctions from their phone, tablet or desktop computer. A helpful “How to Bid Tutorial” has even been developed to assist with online bidding.

“As with most all of our programming, we’ve found ways to creatively pivot in order to continue engaging with the community through art,” explained Kathryn Kanjo, MCASD’s David C. Copley Director and CEO. “We have had great feedback on our recently launched accessible digital platform – MCASD: Digital and we see incorporating our fundraising into this dynamic site as a natural progression of that effort.”

This year’s auction will offer a range of works, from painting and sculpture to photography and works on paper, all donated from artists and galleries both locally and internationally. The auction, hosted on, will feature approximately 100 works by early career and internationally recognized artists, including Leonardo Drew, June Edmonds, Luchita Hurtado, Jean Lowe, Kim MacConnel, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Trevor Paglen, Helen Pashgian, Ed Ruscha, Marnie Weber, and James Welling.

An array of tools and programs are being developed to help the audience familiarize themselves with the works that include;

 A digital catalog (printed, mailed version available for a $20 add on fee)

 Sunday, October 4 at 4 PM: A live conversation with Kathryn Kanjo and a Sotheby’s Auctioneer, Nina del Rio, Vice Chairman, Americas - Head of Museum Private and Corporate Art Services. Viewers will be invited to learn more about what the Art Auction is, its purpose, and to take a ‘deep dive’ into a selection of works available in the Live & Silent Auction. This talk will also be available post event online for later viewing.

 A ‘How to Bid Webinar’ to walk bidders through the process of placing bids, Maximum bids and so on.

 A ‘Virtual Tour’ of Live Auction works, and a selection of Silent works, where users will be able to see the works in situ for references of scale, color, height and so on.

The Art Auction is the Museum’s largest fundraiser, providing vital support for educational programs, exhibitions, and art acquisitions. All works are carefully considered by MCASD’s Director and Curators.

“MCASD’s Art Auction allows visitors to switch from being observers of art to being active collectors of it,” says Kathryn Kanjo, MCASD’s David C. Copley Director and CEO. “While we won’t have a chance to gather face to face, this is still a very highly anticipated opportunity for the art-curious and first time buyers.” said Kanjo. “Artworks are available at a range of price points, with pieces by emerging local artists to works by internationally recognized figures.”

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