East End Hospice Box art auction returns for 20th year
After a year of absence, the popular art auction to benefit the East End Hospice returns on August 28 to celebrate its 20th anniversary of fundraising for the compassionate end-of-life care service thanks at auction and sale of unique pieces, artist boxes.
This year’s boxes will be showcased in a special two-day preview Wednesday through Thursday August 25-26 at Hoie Hall in St. Luke’s Church in East Hampton, where the auction will also take place on Saturday. A reception “meet the artists” is scheduled for Wednesday from 5 pm to 7 pm for those who wish to get to know the brilliant men and women who made the boxes.
Over 80 participating artists, including vaunted names such as Marilyn Church, Leif Hope, Carol Hunt, Dennis Leri, Christa Maiwald, Fulvio Massi, Betsy Petrowski, Daniel Pollera, Gabriele Raacke, David Slater, Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Dan Welden and Frank Wimberley, to name a few, have created unique treasures from predominantly wooden wine and cigar boxes in a variety of styles and media. Of the more than 80 artists this year, 10 have had boxes in each auction since the start. Others will be joining for the very first time, continuing a long tradition that began in 2000 and continues to raise significant funds for this deserving organization every year.
Former gallery owner and longtime curator and event president Arlene Bujese says this summer’s selection of boxes is an exciting unisex bag showcasing a wide range of aesthetic sensibilities. “The artists really responded beautifully and did some great work,” says Bujese, noting that the event is back and as fun as ever, although they keep the safety of the guests in mind. “Of course you have to be careful, there will be masking and that kind of thing,” she explains. “We have to stay with the program when it comes to protection. “
While East End Hospice (EEH) receives most of its major gifts at the organization’s annual summer gala, Bujese says the box art auction is nothing to sneeze at. “People always say it’s a favorite because it’s short and sweet and a lot of fun, and you come home with a beautiful piece of art,” she says, but the auction also pays EEH about $ 50,000 to $ 60,000 every year, and that’s certainly significant.
Because the 2020 auction was canceled, Bujese says a number of participating artists simply donated last year’s boxes to this year’s event. “The artists who had already made cards just hung on to them, and then, for the other artists who were still late, it gave them more time. “
One of this year’s Most Wanted Boxes, which should pull in a pretty prize, features a sculpture by the late East Hampton artist Bill King, who made frequent contributions to the event until his death in 2015 Anonymous gift from a private collection, La petite sculpture is instantly recognizable as one of those of King, a saxophonist whose lanky figure reflects and exaggerates the tall, slender physique of the artist. It is attached to a box with velcro, which makes it easily removable, should the buyer wish to display the piece as it was originally intended.
“It’s in honor of all those artists who have passed away in the last 20 years,” Bujese said of the sculpture, “because we lost Bill a few years ago and some artists this year, artists who had attended the event before, or were going to be this year, over 20 years, there are quite a few.
The King box is just a highlight in an area of many beautiful creations. “We have huge boxes this year, and the variety is definitely there,” says Bujese. “We have landscape to sculpture, painting on boxes, breaking boxes and making something out of, fiber, fabric, paper, found objects – the variety is tremendous, from so that when you walk, there is something for everyone, ”she continues. “If you like the more traditional, this is it. If you like people who really stretch, this is it, so that’s what makes it quite delicious. Some artists, you will recognize it as their signature… and others go a long way from what they normally do. Like a David Slater [box] looks like a David Slater painting, and there are a number of people like it. It’s a very wide range and I think that’s what makes it even more interesting.
Bujese, who picked up the event from David and Marianne Porter two years after its debut, says she couldn’t be more pleased with the way the auction has grown and matured, and has helped publicize the EEH over the past two decades. “For the past 18 years, this was my baby, but I absolutely loved every minute of it,” she says. “The artists, they are so generous. You realize that they are giving all of this work and doing it especially for this event, and I think that makes it very special. It is the generosity of the material, but also of the spirit.
This year’s annual Spirit of Community award will be presented to Donald Sussis on Saturday, for 20 years as a loyal and generous supporter of the boxed art auction and EHT.
Those interested in seeing the boxes, or perhaps planning a bidding strategy, can visit the preview anytime from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets for Saturday’s auction, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., cost $ 100 and include wine and hors d’oeuvres. All proceeds go to East End Hospice.
Visit eeh.org for more information, including photos of all participating boxes.