The District of Columbia Arts Center has come up with a novel model for its latest charity auction: selling performance art. The "Experience Auction," to be held May 12, will leave most winning bidders with nothing but a story to tell, but the artists hope their acts will be novel enough to make up for the lack of an artifact. Performance artist Melissa Krodman will teach you "How to Make a Friend;" performance artist Jon Lee will allow you to feed him a Stouffer’s stuffed green pepper in silence; street artist Kelly Towles will work with you to come up with a theme or narrative and then vandalize your property with it.
The auction was conceived in response to the pressures of holding an art auction in tough economic times; under the new model, artists can support the charity without committing a physical piece. The Washington Post reports:
Nonprofit art organizations support D.C. artists, but nonprofits also depend on artists to provide them with artworks, gratis, that they can auction off to support their programs...
Artists worry that auction results may distort the market value of their work, [poet and auction organizer Buck] Downs says, while art collectors may not consider artworks surrendered for auctions to be “top-shelf” work.