It was raining last night. I had to go alone to this charity art auction because my husband is sick and I promised I’d be there. My piece was in the auction and earned second place in the prior event. There I was in the middle of a crowd of people I didn’t know. It was one of those days where everything went wrong from the very start and to finish it off, I had to be alone among strangers. I tried to smile and laugh and be friendly.
They catered in fancy foods, had a selection of beverages, but I didn’t eat or drink anything. I engaged in pleasant small talk with a few people on the outskirts. The fringe. I’ve learned to just smile and say as little as possible. I’m too intense for people. I think too deeply on everything. I know that. People don’t realize they don’t want to know what I have to say. I protect them and myself by keeping it nice and shallow and by smiling. I’m terrible at playing the games.
There was a man at the auction -the man who volunteered for the job of transporting all of these works of art from location to location. His wife told me he always talks about how much he hates my piece because it’s heavy and it swivels. The first time he moved it, months ago, he didn’t secure it. It fell over and was damaged.
I accepted the news that it was broken with composure. I didn’t cry or complain. We repaired it and it was fine. During the pre-auction mingling this moving van guy starts talking loudly about how my piece got broken and what a pain it is to move. I say nothing. Maybe I should have spoken up, but I was among strangers and I didn’t.
The auction began. People took seats. I found myself standing next to a nice, likeable, young looking guy who was soft spoken. He started helping the moving van guy move some of the pieces to the side and we enjoyed speaking a bit. He was the most pleasant and real person there, I think. I didn’t tell him I made one of the pieces in the show.
As each piece was presented and sold by the auctioneer, it was moved off to the side. The (insert colorful description) moving van guy from earlier got on stage and takes the microphone from the auctioneer and he rushes through the next couple of pieces that were pretty nice, including the first place piece. They went for shockingly low prices and were quickly moved to the side. Then up came my piece.
The moving van guy, who had thus far been quite vocal about how much he hated my piece, was the one with the microphone. Why couldn’t someone pleeeeease just have taken the mic from him? He said the name of my piece, mumbled it was the second place winner, then read my name and said something under his breath that tapered off without finishing his sentence. Bidding was quick and low. The likeable guy standing next to me bid on my work. I liked him even more. Someone else raised and …quick and low. gone.
I chatted with the likeable guy and pointed to the piece that was my favorite. I told him it took real talent to craft it. It didn’t place in the show.
Moving van guy and the auctioneer saved their favorite for last. Admittedly, this was absolutely the finest work in the event. It was my favorite. I’m completely appalled the artist wasn’t recognized with a place in the preceding show. This piece was really built up by the auctioneer and the moving van guy, though. I mean, they loved it and they pulled the artist up front while his piece was on sale (who turned out to be the likeable guy I was talking to the whole time) to really play up the fact that he was present and that everyone should raise the bidding higher. (wait…I was there and no one said a word about me being there when my piece was auctioned. A little favoritism?) His piece pulled in a LOT of money.
I said goodbye and left quietly.
So I’m torn between elation that this amazing artist, and likeable guy was recognized -who should never have been overlooked to begin with, and complete disappointment that some parts of the auction were blatantly mishandled. Moving van guy, who I was always cordial with, turned out to be a major thorn who absolutely worked against me at this event. I mean, I’m all for recognizing excellence, but you don’t have to beat everyone else down in order to do that.
Filed under: Art, Blogroll, Life, Sculpture | 1 Comment »