Aptly named "The Expo Auction, The End of the Line Sale," the Santa Monica Auctions will raise its gavel for the last time this weekend in the C Building at the Bergamot Arts Station.
The razing of the C building—home to Track 16, the Robert Berman Gallery and the Santa Monica Auctions—is imminent as Metro prepares to construct a train station for the Expo Light Rail adjacent to the 5.6-acre complex of art galleries.
Construction for the new train station is expected to begin this fall. Tenants are supposed to be out by the end of August, according to a March 20 memo from city staffers to the Santa Monica City Council, but the galleries say they have not been given a precise date.
“We are not sure how long we can stay. We are hoping for 90 day notice, but have still not heard,” said Track 16’s manager of operations, Caesar Delgadillo.
The Santa Monica Auctions final event takes place 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. It's the last chance for art buyers to experience the auction as it has happened for the past two decades.
This year's featured work is by mid-career and established Los Angeles artists of all mediums, including Andy Warhol, Ed Kienholz, David Hockney, Raymond Pettibon and Pablo Picasso.
Nextdoor, Skidmore Contemporary, in building D-2, will host an opening reception for artist Ann Lofquist the same night, Saturday, from 5-7 p.m. It will feature work that showcases Lofquist's perception of how nature co-mingles with man-made worlds.
The City Council once the train arrives. Earlier this spring, it approved a proposed makeover that could include the addition of an 88-room boutique hotel and a parking structure, and, possibly, a new home for the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
The museum's executive director, Elsa Longhauser, said she is eager for the changes. The new Expo Line is expected to carry tens of thousands of riders from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica.
“The city has been talking to us about providing the land, the building shell, and the core," she said of a new home for the museum. "They know we need a minimum of 20,000 square feet and they are comfortable with that.”
Meanwhile, those that will remain are now confronting what life might be like amid construction.
"Dust, noise and parking are immediate concerns," said Laurie Frank of Frank Pictures Gallery.
She fears the impacts will deter customers, and may ultimately cost her the business.
"I will hold on for as long as it is physically and financially feasible, but there is no good news in all this for Bergamot Station,” Frank said.