In most contemporary art galleries, the walls are lined with pieces of different mediums and dimensions, with the largest works competing for attention from visitors. At The Contemporary Austin, the annual Five x Seven art sale restricts the dimensions of pieces to only 5”x7” boards, keeping every piece at the same size.
This event features more than 300 artists with more than 500 pieces of art on sale for $150 each.
The event opens Wednesday with an art preview and cocktail party, followed by the sale and an after-party where artists and viewers can interact with one another.
Lauren Adams, event coordinator at The Contemporary Austin, said that Five x Seven is competitive — but not between the artists.
“During the art preview, no art work can be purchased,” Adams said. “It is only when the whistle sounds that guests can pull the tag and claim the work. This often leads to situations where several people have been eyeing the same work and will race to be the first to pull the tag.”
Local mixed media painter Chelsea Brouillette, whose work will be featured in the show, said that working on a show with multiple artists encourages a sense of camaraderie.
“It’s exciting to be a part of an organization that actually means something: something that we’re all inspired by,” Brouillette said.
According to Brouillette, group shows such as Five x Seven are an outlet for emphasizing artistic diversity.
“It’s not their fault, but people kind of have a narrow view of art,” Brouillette said. “Shows that have hundreds of locals artists come forward and show what they can do is definitely something unique, inspiring and beautiful.”
Austin-based artist Chris Holloway, a mural painter and surrealist in previous years at Five x Seven, will exhibit a collage series this year.
“This show has a really good handful of local artists,” Holloway said. “It’s a really wide range, and you get a good grasp on the art community and the work they put out in the city.”
Five x Seven also excludes labels from the exhibition. Rather than displaying the names of the artists next to each work, guests buy the art based on personal preference and discover the name after the purchase.
“This creates a sense of discovery for our guests,” Adams said. “Because the artist’s name is only unveiled after purchase, guests are drawn to the work purely because of visual attraction, not because there is a name associated with it. There is also the fun of trying to guess which artist created what work, for those that attend regularly.”
Five x Seven will take place at the Brazos Hall. Tickets to the after-party can be purchased online.
“Not everyone will feel connected to what we’re bringing to something like this,” Brouillette said. “But it’s really special when someone does.”