It's been a few years since we've heard a peep out of the Mackey Gallery: Artist/proprietor Mary Mackey closed the venue in 1997 to concentrate on her own work, leaving an unfortunate little hole in Denver's art scene, an unfilled gap perched somewhere between the high-end and alternative galleries that still proliferate. But in the meantime, Mackey's 4,000-square-foot basement hasn't been getting any emptier.
When that happens to the rest of us, a little voice whispers: "Garage sale!" Thankfully for the community at large, the voice in Mackey's ear inspired something a bit more serendipitous -- an Art and Collectibles Sale this weekend at the old gallery location. And sure, Mackey -- along with art consultant Joshua Hassel and retro-furniture entrepreneur Richard Samuel, who will pool overstock with Mackey for the sale -- hopes for profits in addition to the housecleaning opportunity. But the three are also offering better-than-average yard-sale swag in exchange: "Here we are doing a clearance sale, and I sound just like Jake Jabs!" Mackey says. "What's fun about it, though, is that there are just so many unusual things for sale. It's a great place to come and dig for treasures."
That includes Mackey's own works and those of artists she represented during the gallery's run, flood-damaged items ("Just remat it -- it'll be fine," says Mackey), pieces from Samuel's collection of mid-century modern furniture (Eames, anyone?) and gallery fixtures, all at bargain-basement prices. And Hassel will haul out a whole selection of collected works by artists he's represented over the years, some of which he's acquired by default. "People abandon art all the time," he says. "A lot of pieces I bought outright in the '80s, but people would also just leave the stuff behind. Oddly enough, a couple of pieces I still have because the artist died. I've donated a number of those to auctions, but I still have some left.
"Of course," he tactfully adds, "if somebody shows up and says, 'That's my piece -- I want it back,' they can have it." If not, maybe you can have it.