Alec Baldwin has more of a casual relationship with the art world, one consisting mostly of out-bidding bankers at Hamptons charity auctions and flirting with the idea of opening a gallery because it would “be really cool.” Yet on Tuesday night he agreed to be honored at Artwalk, the annual silent and live auction to benefit Coalition for the Homeless, despite not knowing many of the artists on the block and not caring much for fancy shindigs such as this one.
“People invite you to come to these things and sometimes they’re a pain in the ass,” he said, standing near works by Ann Craven and Elliott Puckette that were getting bid on silently. “You go and you kind of can’t wait for it to be over.”
(“But that’s not the case here, I really enjoy being here,” he added.)
His last foray into the live auction at Artwalk proved costly, as he accidentally plunked 95 grand on a work by an artist whom he didn’t realize was sitting next to him.
“I came here a few years ago and I thought I would get into the bidding just for fun, to get the price up,” he said. “It was a Pat Steir, the published price was $100,00. And I see that every time I bid, the guy outbids me. He’s the collector, so I start to prompt him. He goes $70,000, I go $75,000, and then eventually he goes $90,000, so I go $95,000—and he drops out. I’m trying to push it to $100,000, and he drops out. I’m looking at the guy and I’m like, you gotta be kidding me? You gotta go to $100,000. It says it’s valued at $100,000. I’m only doing this to keep you in line. But, well, I got the painting for $95,000. And the woman sitting next to me, it’s this small owlish woman, and she goes, ‘Thank you very much, that was very kind of you. I’m Pat Steir.’ ”
As for whether he would make a similar mistake tonight, he said, “There’s more here than I have wall space for.”