Incognito is what happens when the Hunger Games meets a Blind Box Toy pop up- it’s a race toward the unknown.
The ICA LA recently resurrected its wildly popular, mysteriously enigmatic fundraising event to mark their one year anniversary in their new DTLA space. Incognito displays over 400 works of art by 350 artists whose identity is hidden from buyers until after they commit to purchasing the piece. Some of the artists are well-known and others are just getting their careers off the ground, the anonymity baked into the process challenges collectors to trust their instincts above all else. Each 12 x 12 inch piece is priced at $500.
The event, now in its 12th year, has been on a 3-year hiatus as the museum rebranded and headed east from Santa Monica (formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art) to a converted warehouse space east of downtown.
The egalitarian nature of Incognito is somewhat tempered by tiered ticketing/sponsorship that provides would-be collectors with some advantageous perks including front of the line access and good pole position to run and throw elbows over the most coveted pieces, but for those that are less aggro about it all, Incognito is an incredible opportunity to browse.
It’s also a great platform for younger or emerging artists looking to expand exposure. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity for collectors to base their decision on art that speaks to them, without the influence of curators, writers, and gallerists. At minimum buyers will walk away with something they love, and it just may be a Carrie Mae Weems, Catherine Opie, Rico Gaston, Patrick Martinez, Lauren Halsey, among many, many others.
I’ve been to Incognito a few times and it remains one of my favorite events in Los Angeles. The best part about it is that proceeds from the event go toward the free cultural programming the ICA offers throughout the year.
Pro Tip: for those that missed out on the main event Saturday (and for those on a tighter budget), “Postcognito” is a second opportunity sale that gives you a crack at amazing last chance items that Incognito guests may have slept on. It’s usually the day after the main event, so if you’re in L.A. on September 9th be sure to check the ICA’s website for additional details.