When I hear the word 'culture' I take out my checkbook

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(Photo courtesy Sarah Morris; "Robert Towne," silkscreen on paper, 2007)

There are few art events in Atlanta with the drawing power of the annual Art Papers Auction, which happens Sat. Feb. 2, at Mason Murer Fine Art (7-10 p.m.). I plan on attending the opening Collectors' Preview (tonight, 7-9):

A) Because the Art Papers people were kind enough to invite me.

But also ...

B) Because I've always been a little intimidated by the mob scene that friends tell me occurs during the main event. Some people derive energy from jubilant masses of art fans, but I get agoraphobic.

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(Photo courtesy Hadley + Maxwell; "une Lutte Prolongée," silkscreen print, 2007)

The auction is such a great reminder of all of the current and past talent in Atlanta. I was talking to a relative newcomer to the city recently who had obviously formed a negative impression of the Atlanta art scene from the ranting on the artnews list serve that many in the community subscribe to. The Art Papers Auction is always a nice reality check and counter to the bickering and negativity that can often seem to dominate the scene if you are a frequent visitor to artnews (with the caveat that there are also some great posts and great articles flagged on the list serve, too). Instead, the auction shows that artists in Atlanta are actually invested in the city, this magazine, and doing what they can to help Atlanta's art community move to the next level.

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