John Baldessari. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sotheby’s has announced that its upcoming spring auctions of Contemporary Art in New York will feature a selection of works donated by artists in support of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. While the list of donations has not yet been finalized, approximately 35 works will be offered in Sotheby’s evening and day sales on May 12, 2015, and May 13, 2015. Proceeds from the auction will benefit MOCA’s endowment.

All of the artists who have donated works to the sale, including John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, and Ed Ruscha, have strong ties to MOCA. Highlights include Grotjahn’s Untitled (Into and Behind the Green Eyes of the Tiger Monkey Face 43.18) (estimate: $2 million to $3 million), a gestural painting from the artist’s celebrated Face series; Gazing Ball (Centaur and Lapith) (estimate: $1.8 million to $2.5 million), a sculpture from Koons’ recent “Gazing Ball” series; Untitled (Provenance) (estimate: $120,000 to $180,000), one of Kruger’s signature collages made expressly for the Sotheby’s auction; and Ruscha’s Goods and Services (estimate: $600,000 to $800,00), which superimposes the words “Goods and Services” on  an image of a snowy mountainscape. Together, the works are expected to fetch over $10 million.

According to Maurice Marciano, co-chair of MOCA’s Board of Trustees, “This auction is not only important for MOCA’s fiscal health and for the continued growth of our endowment but, and I think more significantly, it is an incredible vote of confidence from the artists’ community. the outpouring of support and immense generosity we are seeing is humbling and lets us know that we have their trust. You can’t assign a value to that.” 

The support of the artists’ community is of paramount importance to MOCA. The institution has recently emerged from a tumultuous period, largely caused by former Director Jeffrey Deitch’s tenure at the institution. After Deitch fired longtime chief curator Paul Schimmel in 2012, Baldessari, Kruger, Ruscha, and Catherine Opie resigned from the museum’s board, leaving it void of artist representation. Deitch resigned in July 2013 and in March 2014, was succeeded by Philippe Vergne, formerly the director of the Dia Art Foundation in New York. After Vergne’s appointment, Baldessari, Kruger, and Opie returned to MOCA’s board along with first-time board member, Mark Grotjahn. MOCA has included artists on its board since 1980, a year after the museum’s founding.

Highlights from the auction will be exhibited at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills from March 19-21, 2015, ahead of the exhibition and sale in New York.