If you sat down to make a list of the contemporary artists living and working in L.A. whose names you know, whose work you have seen and possibly even purchased over the years, it would look a lot like the Web site for today's Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Benefit Auction. John Baldessari, Wayne White, Peter Shire, Sandow Birk, Marnie Weber, Stas Orlovski, and Alison, Betye and Lezley Saar are just a few of the 100 artists who have donated their exceptional work to the auction, which will be held on the Barnsdall Park hilltop this afternoon. The organizers' rallying cry is “celebrating the gallery's future,” which is a loaded statement considering this fine civic institution's recent brush with a hostile corporate takeover from MOCA. But the spirit of the event is to celebrate the past. In the last 50 years of this public art hall's existence, its exhibitions and programs have helped launch the careers of a huge number of artists who have gone on to receive international recognition. And judging by the A-list nature of the auction loot (a preview is available at the show's Web site) the artists are willing and eager to show the gallery their love.

Sun., May 1, 3 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly