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.
Hermès is launching a Laundromat pop-up shop in NYC - dubbed Hermèsmatic - where customers can bring their old scarves to be dip-dyed by an expert. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews (📷: @donstahl)