Must Everything Go? The next and maybe last Santa Monica Auction is June 4

05/19/2017 04:07 am ET Updated May 19, 2017
Greg Miller: Ciro’s #3, 2002
Greg Miller: Ciro’s #3, 2002

The word institution is overused but in the case of the Santa Monica Auctions and its iconic dealer/caller Robert Berman, it’s really true. For decades his operation has been the go-to for collectors on both sides of the sell/buy equation, as his reputation and expertise in the market for local artists and classic pieces alike has continued to grow. Aka, he knows everybody and everybody knows him, and his deep contacts consistently result in surprise masterpieces and unique offerings with compelling provenance from an eclectic range of names, styles, and mediums from vintage photography to modern street art, Pop and Chicano, Cool School, and rare editions. The next Auction coming up on June 4th is no exception -- and it already feels like a party. It’s going to be outdoors; and it’s maybe going to be the last. Okay he’s been saying that for a while, but the truth is the future of Bergamot has been in limbo for years. These days the end seems to genuinely be nearing, though other tenants remain more hopeful. Berman is sanguinely scheduling the next auction for November 18, the caveat, “if we’re still here!”

Greg Gibbs (2017). Very Appropriate opens June 24th
Greg Gibbs (2017). Very Appropriate opens June 24th

In the meantime not only the auctions but the gallery programs remain robust. In fact, the next two exhibitions Berman has planned are among his most ambitious. VERY APPROPRIATE opens June 24th, and is a unique in-depth look at the genre of appropriation, in which elements of a work are directly borrowed, some would say stolen, as a formalized conceptual gesture deconstructing both authorship and context. To begin with, is appropriation really even a genre in the conventional sense? It’s more of a strategy than an aesthetic. Mediums often include photography, but not always. The presence of “mixed media” can crossover with collage and assemblage techniques. Content often includes vernacular, commercial, political, and pop culture imagery, which in turns borders on certain kinds of Pop Art critique. But Berman is nevertheless wading into the fray with his upcoming show; and coincidentally, there are a huge number of works on offer in the upcoming auction that occupy that same exciting art historical territory along the pop-appropriation-combine continuum.

Richard Pettibone: Seductive Girl, Tahkt I-Sulyaman Variation II, Elvis and Campbell’s Soup, 1969
Richard Pettibone: Seductive Girl, Tahkt I-Sulyaman Variation II, Elvis and Campbell’s Soup, 1969
Derek Boshier: Picasso; The Sensualists; The Gossip, 2004
Derek Boshier: Picasso; The Sensualists; The Gossip, 2004
Oyvind Fahlstrom: $108 Dollar Bill, 1973
Oyvind Fahlstrom: $108 Dollar Bill, 1973
Shepard Fairey: Hope, 2008
Shepard Fairey: Hope, 2008
Clark V. Fox: Mr. Peanut Police State, 1987
Clark V. Fox: Mr. Peanut Police State, 1987
Keith Haring: Andy Mouse, 1986
Keith Haring: Andy Mouse, 1986
Harmony Korine: This is how you talk to god, c. 1994
Harmony Korine: This is how you talk to god, c. 1994
Takashi Murakami: AKB48, 2009
Takashi Murakami: AKB48, 2009
Robert Rauschenberg: Sling Shot Lit #8 (Black State) (GEMINI 41.165), 1985
Robert Rauschenberg: Sling Shot Lit #8 (Black State) (GEMINI 41.165), 1985
Mimmo Rotella: A Qualcuno Piace Caldo, c. 2002
Mimmo Rotella: A Qualcuno Piace Caldo, c. 2002

After that, LA LA LA opens September 8th as part of the citywide Pacific Standard Time LA | LA edition, focused on the intertwined cultural histories of Los Angeles and Latin America. Berman’s program has always featured a relationship with the Chicano art movement, both in the gallery and the auctions. The exhibition will feature a stunning collection of works by Martín Ramírez among other gems. But this June, the auction’s offerings include just a few of the other marquee names you are likely to encounter again in the Fall.

Carlos Almaraz: Southwest Song, 1988
Carlos Almaraz: Southwest Song, 1988
Carlos Almaraz: Greed, 1989
Carlos Almaraz: Greed, 1989
Frank Romero: Car, c. 1980
Frank Romero: Car, c. 1980
Luis Jimenez: Cruzando el Rio Bravo (Border Crossing), 1984
Luis Jimenez: Cruzando el Rio Bravo (Border Crossing), 1984
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