Telluride AIDS Benefit Art Auction

Telluride AIDS Benefit Art Auction

Auction, Friday, noon – 9 p.m., Telluride's Sheridan Opera House

(Check out the slide show below: Jen Koskinen's photo from 2008 auction and a sample of the art to be auctioned.)

The virus was announced in Washington, D.C. in April 1984. As quickly as the pandemic spread, AIDS threaded itself into the fabric of our lives. It also became an insistent muse for artists of every stripe.

Art about AIDS or art in support of AIDS causes is as varied as its many creators, but it always springs from a very personal place. Whatever form it takes,  it is always a victory for the transformative powers of the imagination: It can turn devastation into beauty or shine a light on dark things repressed in society or in our psyches, things everyone wants to run away from.

Annually, for the past 13 years, the indefatigable Barbel Hacke, director of the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, has mounted an art auction for the Telluride AIDS Benefit. Over 50 artists participate in a sale that includes everything from paintings to photography, functional sculpture, jewelry, basketry, hand-painted glass and textile art.

“The show is a labor of love which I do to honor the memory of TAB’s muse, Robert Presley, a notorious fabric artist. Some people give work year after year, but there are always many newcomers too. Part of the success of the auction is due to the low starting bids. Artists need to leave their egos at the door. This is not about who can fetch the highest price. This is about TAB and the cause. I am a strong believer that art should find a home with anyone who feels the work in his or her heart. If a $400 image goes for $50 to someone who loves it, I am happy. It’s for you. It’s for TAB.”

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