School of the Art Institute's Online Art Auction of Work by Art Stars Supports Student Scholarships

Roger Brown (BFA 1968, MFA 1970), Hank Williams, Honky Tonk Man, 1991, color silkscreen, 40 x 40 inches



The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) launches an online art auction and benefit this week on Artsy in order to raise funds for student scholarships. In order to support the students of the future, the sale features work by some of the school's most famous alumni. 

The impressive list of artists includes Nick Cave, Sanford Biggers, Candida Alvarez, Roger Brown, Karl Wirsum, Angel Otero, Richard Hunt, Michelle Grabner, Jeffery Gibson, Diane Simpson, Richard Rezac and many more.

“Art and design have a significant place in our society, and these practices have the power to help us see our world in unexpected ways and offer solutions to the challenges we face,” said SAIC President Elissa Tenny. “It is our responsibility as a world-class art and design college to break down barriers so any student who has the talent and desire can pursue this education, and supporting student scholarships is critical to this effort.”

In addition to the online auction, on Friday, November 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m., SAIC will host A Happening Auction Party at its flagship public gallery, located at 33 E. Washington St. The event at SAIC Galleries celebrates the world-renowned artists and designers that have generously donated their works. Inspired by the boisterous “Happenings” of Allan Kaprow during 1950-60s where he and his contemporaries would perform small tasks that encompassed art, performance and spontaneity, the evening will include an exclusive, live auction with works fromSuellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum, Roger Brown, Betsy Rupprecht and Ellen Lanyon.


Karl Wirsum (BFA 1961, HON 2016), Mr. Fancy Pants, drawing on heavy paper, 17 x 14 inches


Suellen Rocca (BFA 1964, HON 2016), Ancestor Signs, 1999–2012, graphite on paper, signed in graphite, 22 1/4 x 30 inches


Proceeds from both the ticket and auction sales will benefit student scholarships. Tickets for A Happening Auction Party begin at $300 and can be purchased at

“For more than 150 years, some of the most renowned artists have attended or taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and we’re thrilled to bring together such a prestigious selection of work from faculty and alums who have shaped the world of contemporary art today,” said SAIC Professor and former Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright, who is curating the collection. “The SAIC Art Auction and A Happening Auction Party offer a rare opportunity for art buyers to add to their collections while supporting the next generation of great artists.”

Details on Performances

The Happenings of the evening are comprised of 8-10 minute performances, involving audiences dispersed throughout the galleries. The first happening, titled "Significant form," highlights 12 performers, or "happeners," who will choreograph audience members into intricate arrangements throughout the space, based on the colors of their garments, while making sounds and donning one - of-a-kind masks made by the artist Oli Watt. For the second happening, titled "The Banquet," the happeners will arrange the audience members into an absurd and surreal tableau and document the scene utilizing a number of polaroid cameras.

Chris Ware Giveaway

All attendees on Nov. 11 may enter a drawing to win one of 10 limited edition prints by artist and alum Chris Ware.


About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 155 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world- class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state- of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world, and adults, teens, and kids in our Continuing Studies classes have the opportunity to explore their creative sides, build portfolios, and advance their skills. Notable alums and faculty includeGeorgia O’Keeffe, Nick Cave, David Sedaris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Cynthia Rowley, Michelle Grabner, Richard Hunt, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Jeff Koons.

For More Event Information

Details can be found at