Gallery Vertigo’s 5th Annual Almost Famous Art Auction is ALMOST here.

oook contributor Katie Brennan checked in with Gallery Vertigo Director Judith Jurica to hear about what they’ve got planned for the Fifth Annual Almost Famous Exhibition at Gallery Vertigo and Full-Regalia Gala and Auction at Vernon Community Arts Centre, which occurs on Saturday August 20th at 7pm


oook: Almost Famous is an art auction with a twist. What was the initial inspiration for having local artists re-create artistic masterpieces?
JJ: Almost Famous was originally presented as a tongue-in-cheek mockery of more staid and seriously elegant art auctions. We first read about the Art Gallery of Hamilton staging an event featuring copies of famous works of art. The idea was then borrowed by the Comox Valley Art Gallery. In the spirit of appropriation, Gallery Vertigo recycled this notion yet again, moulding it into our own, somewhat twisted version. That was five years ago.
“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing” said Salvadore Dali. Dali has been somewhat of a mascot for Gallery Vertigo for many years now. The artist’s bizarre countenance and experimental attitude towards art making embody the freedom of expression that the artist-run centre represents. Dali would be proud, we’ve imitated everything, and we’ve produced much!


dali in the water robert descharnes


oook: What kind of work will be at this year’s auction? (ie. where can people see the work?)
JJ: The artists of the Okanagan have produced a plethora of skilful copies and innovative interpretations of well known masterpieces by world renowned artists as well as lesser known, but equally fascinating works. This generous donation of time and talent is in support of exhibitions and programs at Gallery Vertigo, the North Okanagan’s only artist-run centre. Auction items include two and three-dimensional works in a wide variety of mediums including drawing and painting, sculpture, mixed media, textile and digital works.
A gallery of the works can be viewed on Gallery Vertigo’s website:


Auction Goers


oook: I’ve heard that the Queen attends the auction or does she run it? I’ve also heard that guests are asked to wear their finest as to not disappoint the Queen.
JJ: Indeed, and who better to act as auctioneer than the Queen of England (aka local actress Christine Pilgrim), Her royal self a facsimile? Christine Pilgrim studied method acting in London, England. Her TV claim to fame is in The Benny Hill Show. She’s made several films, including The Fool which is available on DVD here in Canada. Always having an eye and an ear for comedy, she specialized in British music hall and eventually became a stand-up comic, both on the international and British stage and was featured on British TV.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth


oook: What else can auction guests expect at the event?
JJ: The month long exhibition of the Almost Famous works culminates in the Full-Regalia Gala, an event that includes free appetizers, sweets and refreshments. Wine will be served at a nominal cost by Hunting Hawk Winery. Live musical entertainment will be provided by Cory Myraas, known as Windmills. The Almost Famous Auction begins promptly at 8pm. Over-the-top elegant attire is strongly encouraged. It’s a chance to sport the fanciest, most outrageous duds you own. The perfect occasion to dig out those feather boas, faux jewels, fantastic hats, funky cowboy boots, etc. It all contributes to a silly and saucy affair that is all about celebrating art and artists.


Royal Appies
Mary and Robert Jenkins Jpeg


oook: You’ve moved into a new venue this year, the Vernon Community Art Centre. Why have you changed venues?
JJ: This year we’ve moved the event to the Vernon Community Art Centre. We needed more room! The popularity of the event grows each year and so we went looking for a bigger  venue for the comfort of our guests. Fortunately, we were welcomed by the Arts Centre (THANK YOU!). The auction is expected to be bigger and better than ever this year.


oook: Where can people get tickets?
JJ: Tickets can be purchased at Gallery Vertigo (#1-3001-31st Street) or at the Vernon Community Arts Centre. (Cash only please.) Alternately, an E-ticket (attached) can be printed and paid for at the door. We ask you to let us know how many are in your party so we have some idea how many chairs we’ll need to set up. Please call the gallery if you intend to use an e-ticket. (250-503-2297) Tickets are twenty dollars, or just fifteen dollars for members of the gallery and arts centre. They are free to donating artists.

Come join us and prepare to enjoy yourself thoroughly. You might just end up carrying home your own Almost Famous masterpiece!

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