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CEPA expands its auction, keeps an all-star roster

The biennial event is a must for serious collectors

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (1975/2004)

Photo courtesy of the artist and CEPA Gallery


CEPA’s 14th Biennial Auction is held March 24, with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and the auction at 7 p.m. The online auction runs from March 13 through March 27 on CEPA’s website. Visit cepagallery.org, call 856-2717, or visit the gallery at 617 Main St. for information and tickets.



Joseph Scheer’s archival print of a Changbaishan Geometer moth is part of CEPA’s biennial art auction


Here’s a fundraiser that’s also an education in the state of international photography and related media.


In 2018, CEPA’s Biennial Art Auction moves to a ballroom in the Hotel Henry and takes place in March rather than April. Other than those two changes, the auction retains its usual lineup of stellar works by contemporary artists. This year, there are contributions from Cindy Sherman, Duane Michals, John Baldessari, Ellen Carey, Deborah Jack, David Lebe, Milton Rogovin, Hollis Frampton, and others.


Attendees will also see a wide range of photography-related practice, including light drawing, printmaking, photo-sequencing, Polaroids, and dramatic documentation. There is a powerful black-and-white image of dance legend Martha Graham, made in 1935 by artist and Aperture cofounder Barbara Morgan. There is Joseph Scheer’s print of a rare Geometer moth, made using a special scanner that captures these three-dimensional creatures in exquisite detail. And there is Ken Heyman’s even rarer shot of an Orthodox Jewish ceremony, taken from a rooftop in Israel, with a telescopic lens.


CEPA’s executive director, Lawrence Brose, affirms that “this year’s auction goes beyond raising funds for the gallery.” He explains that there is an online component to the auction, which anyone can access without paying an admission price. Many of the online offerings have reasonably modest starting bids, and some are additional works by the same artists featured in the live auction. The live auction works are available for viewing (again at no charge) at CEPA’s Market Arcade headquarters from March 2 through March 16.


While the multifaceted event will surely raise a substantial amount for CEPA, it also offers robust insight into how the institution values and curates photography. Many of the artists in the auction have also appeared in multiple exhibitions at CEPA. Unlike too many area art auctions held to benefit nonprofits, this one is chosen with care—and the fact that most serious area art collectors never miss it offers further evidence of its quality.


Returning as auctioneer is WNY native Christopher Mahoney, who is known as one of the world’s top photography auctioneers. Mahoney, after a long career at Sotheby’s, has recently been appointed Senior International Specialist for Photographs at the Phillips auction house.  


Milton Rogovin, untitled print from the Appalachia series, 1962–1971


Barbara Morgan: Martha Graham, Gelatin Silver Print, 1935/1971, 13” x 9”


Edward Bateman, The Dog Printer, 20” x 25”


Ken Heyman, Israel – Orthodox Jewish Ceremony, Gelatin Silver Print, 1972/1983


Ellen Carey, Pull series, Polaroid (negative and positive ),1996-2011


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