BY LENNIE BENNETT
Velázquez, Vermeer, Manet, Bacon . . . I could fill pages with names of artists whose work I adore but will never own. For zillionaires only.
Graphicstudio offers the panacea for people like us. The atelier at the University of South Florida campus in Tampa creates a series of limited edition prints and sculptures by important contemporary artists every year (and remember that Vermeer was once a contemporary artist) that we can purchase through its subscription program. The technological innovations they employ in working with the artists are astonishing. Even the National Gallery is a big fan and collector.
If that, too, is beyond our economic wherewithal, there is a fabulous alternative: the one-day annual benefit sale. Works from Graphicstudio's archives are pulled out and priced at discounts ranging from 10 to 60 percent. Some are the last "extras" and won't be seen again for sale at the studio. Among the artists represented are Los Carpinteros, Chuck Close, Lesley Dill, Alex Katz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Christian Marclay, Vik Muniz, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Janaina Tschape and William Wegman. I can vouch for the works in this sale, having seen them all and coveted each one (but most especially the Mapplethorpe photography and the Dill dress made of paper).
The event is Friday. Between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. you can visit Graphicstudio to make your purchase. If you are keen to acquire a particular work, you should arrive early. The marvelous portrait of his two Weimaraners by Wegman is the only one left, for example. You are also invited to a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m., during which Andrea Modica's photogravure, Cedar Key, Florida, will be given away in a drawing at 8 p.m. (You don't have to attend to win.) All major credit cards are accepted.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8293.