If the local art world has a blitzkrieg retail season (and it most certainly does—just try to count the number of gift-y, priced-to-sell holiday shows this month), then opening night of the MCAD Art Sale is its Black Friday doorbuster.
Every year, one week before Thanksgiving, collectors flock to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, shell out $150 each for an entrance ticket, and then stand in line for a good 45 minutes to an hour before the doors open to one of the most esteemed student art sales in the country.
Why? The same reason all those crazy bargain shoppers celebrate Turkey Day with a pre-dawn vigil at Walmart: the deals. Price points for student and alumni work rarely top $1,000, and of the 7,000-plus pieces cramming the school galleries, a good deal of them cost less than 100 bucks. Last year, we swooped up a table-sized oil painting, all framed-up and ready to go, for $75.
But there’s another reason you may want to check out the sale: the mayhem. As l’etoile magazine once put it, “Our advice? Wear a nut cup; collectors do not mess around.” The MCAD sale operates on a highly physical, somewhat terrifying, grab-what-you can format. Everybody gets a large bag when they enter. All artwork is covered in drapes. The whistle blows, the drapes come down, and it’s an elbow fest trying to get to the most gorgeous pieces before anyone else does. You see something you like? You literally snatch it, looter-style, straight off the wall. No time for “sold” dots here.
Add in some wine and cocktails, and you’ve got yourself the sporting event of the fall.
Not up for the Thursday evening hubbub, but don’t want to wait until all the good stuff’s gone by the time free-day Saturday rolls around? Comment below with your favorite artist (seriously, any artist) to win tickets to Friday night’s sale. That’s $25 you’ll save to go toward your living room’s newest addition.
MCAD Art Sale
Thursday, November 15–Saturday, November 17
Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2501 Stevens Ave., Mpls.