Where can you steal art?
At the APLA Art Project.
By; Jennifer Bentson
The 6th annual art project Los Angeles was held on Sept. 17, 2016 at the beautiful Bonhams Auction House on Sunset Boulevard.
It’s true. Saturday, September 17, 2016, a select audience of celebrities, artists and supporters attended a lavish party at Bonham’s Art Auction on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Under the diligent eyes of the guards, patrons strolled alleys of fine art, jewelry, gift packages and sculpture. It was astounding. Despite the guards you could almost steal an artwork for a fraction of the value. Works from famous artists such as Salvadore Dali, Peter Max, Marvel Comics, David Hockney, William Wegman, Cartier, and Keith Harding were auctioned to the highest bidder. Los Angeles’ artists’, Todd Squires, Curtis Cox, Jennifer Bentson, Michael Becker, Keryl Kris Reinike, Stacia Gates, and Christo displayed their artwork for auction as well. The proceeds from this event will make a tremendous difference to the APLA Health organization.
Every year APLA hosts the Art Project at Bonham’s, an internationally renowned Auction House with addresses in Hong Kong, London, Australia, New York and San Francisco . Bonham’s hosts auctions of fine art, memorabilia, scripts, jewelry, estates, and fine furniture. It only takes a credit card to register to buy an auction item.
Guests and artists were ready for an evening of sizzling art life in Los Angeles with an altruistic goal. I met artist Curtiss Cox, who specializes in neon art. He was featured with his tribute called “Transgender” photographed here with me.
Curtiss Cox has been an artist since he was a little kid. His piece at the show embodied the cycle of life, from the multicolored column which represents all the different types of people, to the path of each individual through life. He was inspired by his neighbor who faces the issues of being transgender. This piece and Curtiss were just one of elements of the APLA Art Party.
Shawnn Morris Slaughter created a wonderful iconic piece with a photo of Nancy Reagan. He said that the name for this piece, “Miss Spoken”, came from an event. Here is what Shawnn says about his piece:
A DESCRIPTION OF:
BY: Shawnn Morris Slaughter
When First Lady, Nancy Reagan, the wife of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, died in March of 2016, Hillary Clinton, wife of 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, made some remarks about Mrs. Reagan in an interview.
HILLARY CLINTON: “And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular Mrs. Reagan, we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it. Nobody wanted to do anything about it. And, you know, that too is something that I really appreciate with her very effective low-key advocacy, but it penetrated the public conscience and people began to say, hey, we have to do something about this too.”
The next day, Mrs. Clinton clarified her remarks about Mrs. Reagan.
HILLARY CLINTON: “While the Reagan’s were strong advocates for stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS,”
In the artist’s mind, Mrs. Clinton’s comments conjured an image of an old, aging and crackling icon, in a huge cathedral, of Mrs. Reagan dressed in medieval garb, with a red ribbon on her tunic and an aura of red ribbons around her head, waving a rainbow flag. The piece was going to originally be titled, “Saint Nancy,” but given the Clinton remark, the actual title was found to be much more appropriate. The image in the artist’s head was a result of a misspoken remark. Thus, the image of the subject of the remark that the artist created is Miss Spoken!
The food from Wild Thyme was unbelievable. I found items I had never seen before, grapes that looked elongated like tiny Japanese eggplants, Rambutans, long crispy things for the elegant cheeses, Kobe beef sliders, home grown basil on the bruschetta, and a really full bar. There was pumpkin enhanced Baileys, Napa Cabernet, Champagne, and any mixed drink that a parrot head would enjoy. If your spouse wasn’t interested in the art, the food and drinks were a must.
Stacia Gates is the hub of the Art Community. Here she is with her painting, “No More Fear” which she has dedicated to her brother who passed away from HIV/AIDS. Stacia not only paints but is the owner of Art Quench Magazine, which features artists from all over the world in print and on the internet.
Walid Khalaf finds painting a way to express and move through his experience as a survivor of 911. Walid said he lived in the area of the twin towers at the time of the bombing and remembers the horrific scenes of destruction. In his painting “Weep No More” he dedicates the painting to his New York friends, David Magee and Larry Rodriguez. The weeping tree is an internal symbol to the artist.
Next to Walid Khalaf is Eugene Huffman also known as liebeKunst. The inspiration and dedication of this painting is to the brothers and sisters lost in Orlando, Florida this year. Eugene Huffman exhibits his artwork throughout Los Angeles.
This is artist, Keryl Kris Reinke, in front of her social commentary painting, “Modern Love No. 2”. This series of paintings is a reflection on the nature of relationships in the Internet age. Keryl Kris says, “With all the on-line dating and Facebook flirtation, we must wonder how much of what we see in each other is real, and how much is ‘cyber’. In these works the human body had been ‘overwritten’ by the lines, and squares one might find in a circuit board or wiring diagram, much as we may worry that our real self may be overwhelmed by our social media presentation, leading the viewer to contemplate just how much of what we think we see in each other is truly real.”
Olmo Rios is a new comer to the APLA Art Project. He is a silkscreen artist who is pursuing a career in the arts. This silkscreen print featured here is one of many in a series. It features the Lucha Libre figher, Santo, who stood for justice and the fight against evil.
Jennifer Bentson is an artist and a writer. Here I am in front of one of my paintings created for the series, “Pasadena Oaks”. I received a grant from the City of Pasadena to create a book and paintings of the significant oaks of Pasadena. In order to be significant, the oak must have a story behind it. This oak tree is the largest Engelmann Oak in the United States according to the Big List of Trees and the California Big List of Trees. The story behind this oak is very interesting as I looked for the address of this tree, I stumbled upon the Caltech Oak Tree which is over 400 years old. I was commissioned to paint this tree by Caltech. What a shock when I learned that the Caltech Engelmann Oak was not the largest Engelmann Oak in the United States. Rather the one in the hedge down the street was the largest Engelmann.
Away from the party of artists and buyers, in another room were the opera scarfed, champagne toasting, dashing international collector’s of Los Angeles’s art. Along with the significant pieces created by Hockney, Wegman and others the auction featured a first class Delta Airlines trip to London. All under the visage of Bonham’s Mr. Swan and his auctioneer’s eye, complete with a gavel and bidding. The live auction raised thousands of dollars for APLA Health. I attend many openings and art events. This one is definitely tops in my book.
APLA Health has a mission to achieve health care equity and promote well-being for the LGBT and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. APLA provides support through groceries from eight food pantries, home health services, HIV prevention services, health education, dental and medical care.