A Party to Support MoCP: DARKROOM March 1

On March 1, as we hopefully start to see more signs of spring everywhere, including in the art world, the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College (MoCP) will host its popular annual benefit auction.

This year DARKROOM, co-chaired by Lisa Bailey, Dawoud Bey, and Jackie Moss, will take place on Thursday, March 1, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Venue Six10 at 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Photography enthusiasts will enjoy music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks and good company while perusing auction items by celebrated contemporary artists, including work by Ai Weiwei, Dawoud Bey, and more. All proceeds raised at this event will support essential MoCP exhibition and education programs in 2018. 

The centerpiece of the event is the auction. The list of artists who are part of the auction is noteworthy, and collectors and enthusiasts should be motivated to bid not only to support MoCP but to potentially take home a work of art by one of the following: Dawoud BeyPaul D'AmatoLaura LetinskyDiana MatarPaula McCartneySandro MillerJohn OperaLeonard SuryajayaJan Tichy and Jeff Wolin, among others. Viewers may preview and bid virtually on Paddle8.

Particularly noteworthy is a piece by Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing, China), a controversial social activist and artist who was secretly, and now famously, detained by the Chinese police in 2011 and interrogated for 81 days. Since then he has not been allowed to leave the courtyard of his home without permission from the police. Weiwei creates work that boldly confronts contemporary sociopolitical issues, both in China and abroad. In his series of snapshots titled Study of Perspective he flips his middle finger at monuments, landmarks, and institutions of cultural and political power. Traditionally, artists have done perspective studies as preparation for illusionistic drawings or paintings of three-dimensional space on a flat surface. Ai cannily uses the double entendre of “perspective” as he interjects his point-of-view into photographs of iconic landmarks in which his middle finger serves as both a universal symbol of protest and a device for evaluating the relationship of distant objects. His most recent addition to the series, Study of Perspective, Trump Tower, NYC, 2016 was shown for the first time in the exhibition #AiWeiwei at MoCP in 2017. This was also Ai’s first solo presentation of work in Chicago. The bidding for Study of Perspective, Trump Tower, NYC, 2016 starts at $50,000.

In addition to offering its stellar fine art photography auction, at DARKROOM MoCP will present the sixth annual Silver Camera Award to artist Deborah Willis. The Silver Camera Award honors those who have made significant contributions to the medium of photography. Deborah Willis is a celebrated photographer, historian, and curator of African American photography. She is the author of many notable books, including Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, which inspired a traveling exhibition. Her photographs and scholarship have centered on representations of blackness, womanhood, and beauty. 

This year's event takes place at Venue SIX10, located in a contemporary building right next door to the musuem itself, with panoramic views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan.

Tickets to DARKROOM start at $150 for individuals and $300 for VIP Tickets.

Visit for more information.


Additional images from the auction: 


DARKROOM is March 1 at 5:30pm at 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Top image: DAWOUD BEY, Hassan II, 1999, Polaroid prints, Unique, Courtesy of artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Signed. Estimate $25,000