Aljira Launches Fine Art Auction Featuring Celebrated Contemporary Artists

Newark, New Jersey— Aljira, a Center for Contemporary has launched an online-only fine art auction via Paddle8 featuring the work of renowned contemporary artists, among them, Derrick Adams, Frank Bowling, Willie Cole, Chuck Close, Chitra Ganesh, Pat Lay,  Mickalene Thomas and Adejoke Tugbyele. 

View work now at Minimum bids ranging from $600 to $40,000 begin online June 9; the auction closes June 24.

This exceptional selection of art work in various mediapaintings, photographs, drawings, prints, and sculpture—has been generously donated by artists and collectors to benefit Aljira, a nonprofit organization located in Newark's downtown art district

Artists featured in The Aljira Creating Tomorrow Paddle8 Auction are: Derrick Adams, John Ahearn, Frank Bowling, Chuck Close, Willie Cole, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Victor Davson, Chitra Ganesh, Sam Gilliam, Hank Willis Thomas, Pat Lay, Donald Locke, Hew Locke, David Salle, Miriam Schapiro, Mickalene Thomas, Denyse Thomasos, Adejoke Tugbyele, and Deborah Willis.


Frank Bowling’s Green Tail Coat for Iona’s Sake, 1978, is one of three works by the artist in the auction. Sale of a Bowling painting of the same period exceeded record prices at a 2016 New York auction. A Guyana-born British artist, the artist is widely considered to be one of the most distinguished artists to emerge from post-war British art schools. At the 2014 Armory show, his 1971 painting Polish Rebecca sold for $275,000, setting a new record forty years after being shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is the first Black British artist elected a Royal Academician in the over 200 year existence of the Academy. Bowling’s work is represented in major collections around the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England; Lloyds of London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York and Whitney Museum, New York; New Jersey State Museum; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation;  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Tate Britain; University of Liverpool; Royal Academy of Arts, London, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, West Indies and numerous other prestigious institutions.

Mickalene Thomas’s You're Gonna Give Me the Love I Need, 2010, is a collage of handmade paper with silkscreen, commissioned as an Aljira Benefit Print on the occasion of receiving an Aljira Timirhri Award for Leadership in the Arts. Best known for complex paintings made of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel, her depictions of African-American women explore notions of black female celebrity and identity, romanticizing ideas of femininity and power. Her work is represented in the Art Institute of Chicago, Baltimore Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, International Center of Photography, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Modern Art, National Portrait Gallery, New York Public Library, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Taschen Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Yale University Art Gallery among others.

 Willie Cole has three works in the auction: two prints from Complementary Soles, a portfolio of nine silk screen prints Cole generously donated to Aljira in 2015 and an editioned bronze sculpture, Mother and Child, 2/7, 2015.  A native of Newark, Cole is best known for assembling and transforming ordinary domestic and used objects such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, hair dryers and other discarded appliances and hardware, into imaginative and powerful works of art and installations. His work has been the subject of several one-person museum exhibitions: Montclair Art Museum (2006), University of Wyoming Art Museum (2006), the Tampa Museum of Art (2004), Miami Art Museum (2001), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998). Several of his sculptures were included in “Reconfiguring an African Icon: Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents,” which opened in March 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 2010, a survey exhibition of his work on paper (19752010) took place at the James Gallery of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and later travelled to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art at the University of Alabama and the Rowan University Art Gallery in Glassboro, NJ. In January 2013, "Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Works" opened at Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2006 David C. Driskell Prize, High Museum, Atlanta, celebrating outstanding contributions by African-Americans. 

 Adejoke Tugbyele, a Nigerian-American, award-winning artist and LGBT activist has two works in the auction, a sculpture, Flight to Revelation II, 2013 and a drawing, Reclined Nude, 2016. She boldly, yet delicately weaves complex ideas about race, gender, sexuality, spirituality and migration. Tugbyele's work has been exhibited at major institutions internationally including the Brooklyn Museum, The Newark Museum, The Museum of Arts and Design, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos Nigeria, The Goethe-Institut (in Lagos, Nigeria and Washington D.C), The Centre for Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland, and The United Nations. She is the recipient of several awards including the Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015, a Fulbright U.S. Student Fellowship in 2013, the 2014 Serenbe Artist-in-Residence, the 2013 Amalie Rothschild Award, and the 2012 William M. Phillips Award for best figurative sculpture. Her work is currently on view in "Disguise: Masks and Global African Art," a group exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum which connects the work of twenty-five contemporary artists with historical African masquerade.

Artist Pat Lay donated her fired clay glaze sculpture, Untitled Mask #8, and a benefit print, KB0953-P, 2015, created on the occasion of her Aljira Bending the Grid: Myth, Memory and Android Dreams major survey 2016 exhibition. Lay speculates on the impact of artificial intelligence in the future, from computers to cyborgs to the yet- to-be imagined. In the past decade her artwork has focused on technological metaphors of the human experience. Her sculptures, made of fired clay, computer parts and other ready-made elements, are hybrid, post human power figures that have cross-cultural references and question what it means to be human. Lay is a retired Professor of Art at Montclair State University and founder of the Master of Fine Arts program at Montclair State University. Awards include two grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a grant from the American Scandinavian Foundation. She has had solo exhibitions at the Jersey City Museum; New Jersey State Museum; and Douglass College, Rutgers University. Her work has been included in group exhibitions in Japan, Austria, Korea, China, Norway, Wales and Slovakia and at the Jersey City Museum, Newark Museum, New Jersey State Museum, The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Montclair Art Museum, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Everson Museum, and the 1975 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

The Aljira Creating Tomorrow Paddle8 Online Auction is a landmark event honoring artist and Aljira's founding director, Victor L. Davson. After 33 years, Davson is stepping down from the organization. Proceeds from sales of artwork help Aljira sustain ground-breaking exhibitions, career advancement programs for emerging and underrepresented artists, and transformative learning experiences for local youth.

On Thursday evening, June 23, 6–9pm. a special fundraising celebration at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, will be held to salute Victor Davson’s achievements and to ensure that Aljira’s acclaimed legacy of empowering artists, creating valuable community programs will continue to flourish.

About Paddle8
Paddle8 is the leading secondary marketplace for art and luxury collectibles worldwide. Breaking down many of the traditional barriers to art dealing and collecting, the company offers both veteran and novice collectors a seamless online process to discover, sell and purchase works of art, furniture, jewelry and luxury collectibles through for-profit auctions, non-profit auctions and private sales.

Servicing a community of more than 500,000 collectors worldwide, Paddle8 combines the taste and trust of a traditional auction house with the efficiency and global reach of the Internet to create a destination that makes it simple for collectors to buy and sell. Paddle8 is especially proud to partner with over 300 non-profit organizations worldwide to present their benefit auctions to a global community of collectors, helping each organization expand its fundraising results.

Led by co-founders Alexander Gilkes, Aditya Julka, and Osman Khan, Paddle8 was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in New York, with additional offices in Los Angeles and London. Paddle8 is funded by the investors behind Uber, Vimeo, Buzzfeed, Paperless Post, Warby Parker, and Bonobos, among others, as well as art-world insiders including Rolf Sachs, Stavros Niarchos, Damien Hirst, Jay Jopling and David Zwirner.  View The Aljira Creating Tomorrow Paddle8 Auction at: 

About Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art
Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art fosters excellence in the visual arts through exhibitions and educational programs that serve as catalysts for inclusiveness and diversity, promote cross-cultural dialog, and enable us to better understand the time in which we live. Public understanding and support of the visual arts are strengthened through collaboration and community-based educational programming. Aljira seeks out the work of emerging and underrepresented artists and brings the work of more established artists to our community. Through the visual arts Aljira bridges racial, cultural and ethnic divides and enriches the lives of individuals.

Aljira’s operations and programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Cultural Trust, The Kenneth Aidekman Family Foundation, Bank of America, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Edison Properties, Newark Foundation, Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Lambent Foundation, MCJ Amelior Foundation, Merrill Lynch, Newark Downtown District, The New York Community Trust, Pharmachem Laboratories, Inc, PNC Bank, Prudential Financial, The Prudential Foundation, PSE&G Foundation,  Newark Celebration 350, The Schumann Fund, The Turrell Fund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and many generous individual contributors. 

Aljira is located at 591 Broad Street in downtown Newark. For directions visit our website at The Center is open Wednesday through Friday, 12–6 pm and Saturday, 11 am–4pm. Phone 973 622-1600, fax 973 622-6526, Website: On Instagram: @aljiraart. On Facebook: On Tumblr: On Twitter: @aljiratweets.