From the look of things, the Minnesota Center for Photography is attracting not only photography enthusiasts, but those with dollars to indulge their affinity. Those attending Saturday night’s PhotoBravo 2007 event—an annual auction featuring works from both established and up-and-coming talent—were enjoying the open bar and engaging conversation. The talk reached the level of a low roar.
It’s good to see such obvious signs of success. If any organization deserves to succeed it’s MCP, which manages to feel like a true community player with deep roots among photographers while simultaneously drawing a well-heeled audience for their work.
PhotoBravo is equal parts social event, art sale, and exhibition. It’s unique in that the work on display tends to be a “best of.” You’ll see pieces from past shows. You’ll also see big-name photographers who have gone on to bigger things but still maintain a connection to the community—for example, Alec Soth, Wing Young Huie, and Doug Beardsley all donated pieces to the auction. You’ll see the rising stars such as Brian Ulrich, one of Photo District News’s thirty emerging photographers for 2007, and a slew of interesting emerging photographers such as Xavier Tavera, Mickey Smith, and others. You’ll see even see works by the likes of William Wegman and Jerome Liebling.
Many pieces were valued in the high hundreds to low thousands. While it would be a definite stretch to call such numbers attainable given the median income in this country, the photographs up for auction were certainly accessible by art-world standards. And at the very least an auction allows one to indulge in an entertaining game of “what if?” to ask: “Which pieces would I bid on?”
Given the options last night, I’d be hard pressed to pick one piece. But with a few thousand dollars in my pocket, I’d certainly have made bids for Lori Ginker’s portrait of the war wounds of an Israeli veteran—not exactly a piece to hang over the sofa, but extremely provocative and powerful nonetheless. I’m also quite partial to Orin Rutchick’s Agra #266 and Keri Picket’s The Secret, to name but a few. If you missed the auction, you can see the works that were up for grabs.
Top Left: Two Women, Miami Beach, FL, Jerome Liebling
Center Right: The Secret, Keri Picket
Bottom Left: Agra #266 (Taj Mahal, Woman in Black), Orin Rutchick