DiverseWorks is not Christie's or Sotheby's, so it is only fitting that its annual art auction be as iconoclastic as the innovative visual and performing arts programs that the contemporary non-profit provides the Houston community. As it turned one decade old on Wednesday evening, "Luck of the Draw X: Revolution!" was just as revolutionary as the day the auction was founded in 2001.
The auction's basis is that guests are doled out a number for the ticket price point they purchased, which is then called at random. When one's ticket is announced, the bidder has a mere 20 seconds to snag an 8.5 by 11 inch artwork that complies with his or her artistic leanings. Announcing the numbers at "Revolution!" was MC and DJ Graham Gaskill as event co-chairs Karen Niemeier and Michael Coppens observed the mad dash.
With the $100 tariff for a basic bid, "Luck of the Draw" offers emerging collectors a chance to own an artwork from a roster of 200-plus generous international artists. The spectacle was just as rewarding as receiving an artwork — especially when that show is accompanied by bites from Beaver's and FreeBird's Poparazzi's Popcorn, and drinks courtesy of Pura Vida Tequila and Real Ale Brewing Company.
Aside from the small works on paper were larger options up for a blind bid on the north side of the gallery, including impressive pieces by Brent Green, Libbie Masterson and Jim Nolan
The hyper collecting inside DiverseWorks was belied by the commotion on the art space's front porch, where local collective Continuum staged a popup performance artwork protesting the practice of purchasing artists' prints instead of original works of art.
Posters featured such statements as "Every time you buy a print an artist starves!," "Art shouldn't match furniture" and, "Mass-produced art does not come from the soul."