The Sale of Bruce Gordon
by Andrew Lamprecht
Bruce Gordon, owner of Long Street's Joburg Bar (the watering hole of choice for many in Cape Town's art world), was sold for R52 000 at a charity auction recently held at the Michaelis School of Fine Art to raise funds for student bursaries and special projects.
Edward Young, a Masters student at Michaelis, submitted Gordon as his work of art for the auction, which also included works by Cecil Skotnes, Bruce Arnott, Jane Alexander, Gavin Younge, Sue Williamson, Beezy Bailey, Pippa Skotnes, Malcolm Payne, Peggy Delport and a host of other friends, staff members and students of Michaelis.
Young's work, entitled 'Bruce Gordon', reached the top price at the event, held after the opening of the graduate exhibition of the School on Wednesday December 4. Other high prices included two photomontages by Jane Alexander, which fetched a total of R26 000, and boxed works by Pippa Skotnes, which made R14 000. After an opening bid of R100 conveyed from Argentina by Sue Williamson, the bidding soon escalated for 'Bruce Gordon', with Marilyn Martin being pipped at the post by art aficionado Suzy Bell. In an act of considerable and unexpected generosity, Bell donated the work to the South African National Gallery at the end of the auction to rousing applause.
"Obviously it's a very innovative and exciting form of conceptual work" noted Lyndi Sales, exhibition and auction co-ordinator. "The idea of being able to auction a person at an art auction is something new and refreshing."
The work has raised much discussion and was the subject of a weekend newspaper article. Responding to the media attention his work has received, Young stated' "The work of art is no longer necessary." In spite of this it is hoped that the work will soon be on display at it's new home, the National Gallery.