Shovelling Money at The Vanishing Point

by Alex Wisser

orig­i­nally pub­lished: Wed, 2009-12-23 on

Just for back­ground…  I am a recently become co-director @ At The Van­ish­ing Point Gallery in New­town.  To those who know this I seri­ously apol­o­gize  for allow­ing pro­mo­tion of the gallery to swamp per­sonal and inter­per­sonal use of social net­work­ing sites that shall here remain unnamed.  I really don’t want this blog to be about pro­mot­ing the gallery, nev­er­the­less I sus­pect it will fea­ture large as it is a major part of my life right now.

So last night we had an end of year fundraiser.  It began as a kind of throw­away, or after­thought of a director’s meet­ing we’d held in the back yard of the gallery in some dis­gust­ingly hot Aus­tralian weather.  We were dizzy and tired and thirsty and I don’t know, I think it was me or some­one who could have been me, sug­gested we put on an auc­tion to raise some money for the gallery.  The idea sort of caught when the name “Demo­li­tion Sale” was sug­gested, cause it was funny in some way that had to do with the fact that our brains were a lit­tle addled by the sun.  I mean it’s a lit­tle funny, but you can’t quite find the punch line, and I like that.  So that’s what started it really.  Now with deci­sions like this, what usu­ally hap­pens is that they are made and agreed upon and then for­got­ten for as long as they can pos­si­bly remain for­got­ten.  We only kick our­selves into action when there is a scent of impend­ing doom in the air — at which point there is a slow swirling of ener­gies and a grad­ual ramp­ing up of activ­ity untill we find our­selves work­ing furi­ously right up to the final hour to pre­pare.  It’s amaz­ing how pre­scient our instincts are, as though all preper­a­tions are mea­sured from the last pos­si­ble moment back­ward so that the very last nec­ces­sary thing gets done at exactly the very last pos­si­ble moment.  And at 730, when it was time for the auc­tion to begin, I finally worked out how to print on our strange beaten com­puter and the work lists were printed.

So any­way, I think the night went bril­liantly.  I got to play the beau­ti­ful assis­tant, tak­ing the works off the wall and walk­ing them around the room, ges­tur­ing seduc­tively and indi­cat­ing their qual­ity as con­sumer fetish objects.  I was so damn good at it my part­ner (Georgie Pol­lard) and I bought $800.00 worth of the stuff.  Juma Adi, Amanda Hills, Anthony Bar­tok, Nicole Toms, Gilbert Grace — you might not know their names, but I do, and I can tell you its a rather deli­cious feel­ing know­ing that I own their works — and then I can think about how cheaply I got them and I smile a lit­tle bit to myself.  Even though they’re my friends, and I know they suf­fer for their art and pay for it in so many ways, its just one of those uncon­quer­able cru­el­ties of human nature that I can still take plea­sure in mak­ing such great deals at their expense.  Sorry guys — if its any con­so­la­tion, I love your work.

Cause I was help­ing the auc­tion, Georgie did most of the bid­ding for us and I have to say I was quite proud of how fear­lessly she waded into the fray — frankly her judge­ment is pretty impec­ca­ble and the con­fi­dence with which she went after what she wanted was just a lit­tle scary.  We also sold a good num­ber of works, which helped take the sting out of our pur­chases. The night was gen­er­ally a suc­cess, with only a few works pass­ing in and then we got drunk and smashed a wreck­ing ball pinata against the gallery wall and got even more drunk and then I sang a love bal­lad with Peter Mcguin­ness and I tell you when we fin­ished there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  And then we got drunker.  It would have gone on like this but our daugh­ter (who had eaten most of the lol­lies from the pinata) had to go home to sleep (not accord­ing to her) and so, sadly, the night even­tu­ally ended.