Art Auction 2016 > Kathryn Kanjo on Collecting


Art Auction 2016 is less than one month away! As the region's arts enthusiasts prepare, MCASD's Deputy Director, Art and Programs Kathryn Kanjo weighs in with some expert advice on collecting: where to begin, what to look for, and how to know when you've found a keeper.

It sounds rote to say "start with what you love," but you should start with what you love. And be aware of what appeals to you in a work, and why: is it the imagery, the material properties, the message, or the mood? Contemporary art speaks a variety of languages and there is a place to find what matters to you.

The opportunity of the biennial Art Auction 2016 is that it gathers work in a range of styles and approaches by more than 100 artists, all of whom have been selected by MCASD curators. Notably, many have recently exhibited at MCASD. Did you respond to the fluid immediacy of James Drake's all-encompassing installation downtown? If so, the auction features a similarly constructed drawing that collages together multiple pages and layers imagery to convey the effect of memory and time.

Do Ho Suh's art is also personal and cultural. His compact etching, My Home, joins his enduring themes of self and home in a scale that is better suited to a private collection than his architecturally-scaled exhibition downtown.

As a sculptor, Anya Gallaccio has consistently mined the metaphorical potential of materials, from flowers and chocolate to clay and amethysts. Her MCASD exhibition last summer offered a meditation on the western landscape. For the auction, she has donated a related work, a wall-mounted obsidian sculpture that simultaneous reads as a mysterious, sumptuous mirror and as the geological specimen that it is.

Mind If I..., a beguiling dry pigment and acrylic composition by Ed Ruscha, features his signature text and atmospheric color field, as seen in his recent exhibition, Then & Now: Paintings from the 1960s and 2000s.

Text also forms the basis of Tim Youd's seemingly abstract painting, Chandler: Noir. The striated work is, in fact, formed by transferring the inked typewriter ribbons on which the artist systematically re-typed a Raymond Chandler novel. So, works that seem abstract are often not, just as objects that are recognizable ought to transcend their immediate reference.

Visit to buy your tickets today, or to view available artworks starting Friday, April 29. Gold Circle ticket holders will be treated to an exclusive first look preview reception on May 11, as well as a limited edition paddle designed by Mel Bochner. 

MCASD's Art Auction 2016 is made possible by the generosity, counsel, and support of our sponsors Sotheby's, Schubach Aviation, and Room & Board. Additional in-kind support is provided by The Frame Maker, ArtWorks San Diego, and Quint Gallery.


IMAGE CREDITS: James Drake, Renaissance Object, Drawings #1249, 1250 & 1251, 2013, graphite, ink, and book pages on paper, 43 1/2 x 53 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist, Moody Gallery, and James Kelly Contemporary.

Installation image of James Drake: Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash), 2014, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown location. Photo by Pablo Mason. 

Do Ho Suh, My Home, 2011, etching on Fabriano 100% cotton paper, 9 3/4 x 14 in., artist's proof 5 of 12. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

Installation image of Do Ho Suh, Apartment A, Unit 2, Corridor and Staircase, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (detail), 2011-2014. Polyester fabric and stainless steel tubes. Apartment A, 271 2/3 x 169 3/10 x 96 7/16 in. Unit 2, 422 7/16 x 228 1/3 x 96 1/16 in. Corridor and Staircase, 488 3/16 x 66 1/8 x 96 7/16 in. Installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown location, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York and Hong Kong. Photo by Pablo Mason.

Anya Gallaccio, There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in, 2014, obsidian, 26 x 26 1/4 in. Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Installation image of Anya Gallaccio, 2015, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown location. Photo by Pablo Mason. 

Ed Ruscha, Mind If I..., 2015, dry pigment and acrylic on paper, 11 1/8 x 15 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Installation image of Ed Ruscha Then & Now: Paintings from the 1960s and 2000s, 2016, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location. Photo by Pablo Mason. 

Tim Youd, Chandler: Noir, 2015, typewriter ribbon ink and glue on panel, 36 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Installation image of Tim Youd: The Long Goodbye, 2014, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location. Photo by Pablo Mason.