Auctions are weird. I mean, the idea’s about as antiquated as the lots they’re bidding off. Old, moneyed people doing eyeball ping-pong with paddle boards. The referee is a man on a podium with a gavel and a block, what’s up with that?
“Auctions?! People still go to that?!” a friend exclaimed after I told her about gavel&block, the more hip and contemporary subsidiary brand of Salcedo Auctions.
Salcedo knows this, of course. They’re the pioneering auction house in the country. “It’s all about innovating auctions,” says Richie Lerma, director of the Salcedo Auctions. “The impression people get with auctions is that it’s inaccessible, expensive, and it’s all the same people all the time.” And while gavel&block will still follow the standard auction process, they’re creating pop-up events to attract the junior art market, such as their Summer Art Party held last April 26, where Kiana Valenciano and DJ Nix Damn P! performed. They really aimed to open up the market with their gavel&block subsidiary.
Does the idea of owning a Matisse lithograph appeal to you? How about seeing a Dalí beside an Ang Kiukok, or something from contemporary Filipino artists, like Randy Solon, or Jigger Cruz? gavel&block offers a diverse array of lots with lower starting bids. Whereas typical sales would feature antique artworks (paintings, furniture, jewelry, even cars) with a certain provenance, the budding brand aims to connect to a wider group of collectors and enthusiasts. Thus: maps, Igorot bululs, cuff links, prints, and even a Yohji Yamamoto limited edition tote bag. Just seeing them on display is certainly an education for the ingénue, aka moi.
This season’s sale is called “benefit,” happening on Saturday, May 5. This auction was co-organized with the International School Manila (ISM) to raise funds for ISM Vicky SyCip Herrera Filipino scholars. A number of the artworks for sale are from ISM alumna, some belonging to Class 2018.