ACC holds annual benefit auction in March

ON VIEW at the Asian Cultural Council’s press conference announcing its auction were two of the works that will go under the hammer, Yellow Abode (1961) by Jose Joya (L) and 4 Bottles (2000s) by Arturo Luz — CHELSEA VISTO

CONTINUING its mission to support and develop local talent in the contemporary art scene, the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) will hold its annual benefit auction next month.

Historically breaking records with million-peso bids, all proceeds from the annual fundraiser — slated on March 9 at the Leon Gallery — will benefit the ACC Philippine Fellowship Program. The artist-fellows will then embark on cultural exchange projects in the United States or within Asia.

Now on its 9th year, the public sale will feature the works of painter and sculptor Juan Luna, impressionist painter Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, abstract artist José Joya, and portraitist Fernando Amorsolo and his fellow National Artist cubist illustrator Vicente Manansala, among other renowned Filipino masters.

Over 184 paintings, sculptures, and pieces of furniture will be up for grabs, a few of which were part of the personal collection of former ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Geny” Lopez, Jr., along with some owned by art aficionados who personally knew the artists.

AUCTION HIGHLIGHTSIn a press conference on Monday in Makati, the ACC highlighted four artworks that can be had by the highest bidder.

Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s 1990 painting Planting Rice will be among the pieces on the auction block. The 36” x 30” oil on canvas depicting three women tolling at a rice field is now considered a “rare find.” Ms. Magsaysay-Ho, a student of Mr. Amorsolo, is famous for emphasizing the beauty of Filipino women in ordinary settings.

The 63-year-old Yellow Abode by former ACC grantee and pioneering artist and educator Joya was also on display. Mr. Joya’s masterful texture and composition are expected entice discerning collectors.

Leon Gallery Director Jaime Ponce De Leon said he considered the early 1960 as the best years for the printmaker, mixed media artist, and former dean of the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines.

“The early ’60s would be the best output of Joya, the best pieces that could ever be found. Collectors really prize this period very much,” he said.

Roberto Chabet, acknowledged as the father of conceptual art in the country, and the founding Museum Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, will also be showcased in the auction. One of the pieces from his 1965 Windows series will be in the spotlight.

A work by National Artist Arturo Luz, a pioneer of Filipino modernism, will further bolster the lineup. A piece from his acrylic in canvas Bottles series, was the “youngest” of the four highlighted paintings during the press conference.

GRANTEESProceeds from the auction will support the council’s projects, whose goal is to carefully nurture and mentor the next generation of Filipino artists.

“We are working to have as many grantees as possible, which is why we formed the Philippine branch,” ACC President Ma. Isabel Ongpin said.

The three recipients of the 2023 ACC grant will kick off their fellowships this year.

Choreographer and art educator Japhet Mari Cabling will study contemporary dance practices in the United States while multi-disciplinary artist and seasoned sound designer Corrine De San Jose will research contemporary sound art and public art around New York City. Maria Christine Muyco, a composer and ethnomusicologist, will launch a series of workshops in New York on song cycles in Southeast Asia.

Established in 1963, the ACC has supported over 300 artists, scholars, and professionals across various art disciplines, including performing arts, visual arts, archaeology, and curatorship.

The roster of ACC grantees boasts of nine National Artists, namely Mr. Joya, Lucresia Kasilag, Lamberto Avellana, Alejandro Roces, Francisco Feliciano, Jose Maceda, Kidlat Tahimik, Ramon Santos, and Alice Reyes.

Open bidding for the artworks will start at 2 p.m. on March 9. — Chelsea Visto

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