BOSTON — The original art was on sale for about the price of a Gap hoodie.
An irresistible combination, or so thought hipster Bostonians who jammed the Rhys Gallery on Tuesday for "Proof of Purchase," which featured miniworks priced at $50 apiece from about 400 artists who donated the postcard-size pieces to benefit the School of the Museum of Fine Arts scholarship fund.
If the price wasn't enticing enough, there was the allure of mystery. The works were numbered and propped anonymously on steel ledges running all over the gallery.
Buyers weren't told who they had scored until after they had paid and received "proof of purchase." Had they spotted an original Kiki Smith, a renowned sculptor and printmaker whose works sell for as much as six figures, or had they fallen in love with the work of a freshman at the Museum School?
Ultimately, it didn't seem to matter because 90 minutes after opening the South End space to a waiting crowd, the gallery owned by Colin Rhys, 22, was stripped bare. Gone was the Georgia O'Keefe-esque rendering of antlers, the Mr.-T-with-horns collage, and a watercolor of red-jacketed children walking in snow.
The effort raised more than $20,000.
"How do you like this, huh? Is it crazy or what?" said Rhys, clad in a slim-cut Dolce & Gabbana pinstripe suit, dashing over to help unclog the checkout process.
Six months ago, Rhys, a Museum School graduate who opened his elegant gallery across the street from one of Boston's oldest homeless shelters, sent out word of the project and 4-by-6-inch pieces of cardstock to alumni and supporters.
Each piece of white cardstock had simple printed instructions on the reverse asking artists to sign, and indicate the piece's composition materials and hanging orientation. They came back in bunches — sketched, stitched, collaged, waxed, felted and jeweled. There were inks, oils, acrylics and watercolors, prints, photographs and several sculptures jutting off cardstock.
Raul Gonzalez, a Mexican artist living in Somerville, Mass., sent in a highly detailed watercolor series commemorating service jobs. Fifties-era couples board a train, have dinner and undertake other leisure activities waited on by a brown-skinned robot."I think this is by my professor and his work is so expensive — thousands of dollars. If I'm right, this is the only way I could afford him," said artist Evelyn Rydz, who guessed right and became the proud owner of a Gerry Bergstein, featuring George Washington, a broomstick and a star-clotted sky reminiscent of "Star Wars."
Interior designer Judy Bernier waited almost 40 minutes — frequently shifting preschooler Cali on her hip — to purchase two pieces.
"This was on the wall for five minutes," said Lydia Ruby, flashing a collage in red canvas, yarn and acrylic paint. "And I just met the woman who made it."
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)