When you attend a Park West auction, you never know who you’re going to meet. You might meet fellow art lovers, your favorite artist, or—if you’re lucky—you might meet a rock ‘n’ roll legend.
The next time you’re on a cruise or at a VIP auction event, keep your eye out for Gary Puckett, one of the most popular rock stars of the 1960s. With his band The Union Gap, Puckett had six consecutive gold records and sold more records in 1968 than any other artist, including The Beatles.
He’s responsible for world-famous songs—“Young Girl,” “Woman Woman,” “Lady Willpower”—he’s topped the Billboard charts, and he’s also a passionate Park West collector.
Puckett and his wife Lorrie gravitated toward art collecting because, as he puts it, “We just wanted to start adorning our walls with cool stuff.” The musician still performs all over the world and, while traveling on a cruise ship years ago, he visited a Park West gallery for the first time and began collecting in earnest.
Once Puckett started collecting, he “discovered all of the great artists that live and work in this world” and quickly became a Park West regular.
“Meeting Gary—that was a beautiful accident,” says Jason Betteridge, one of Park West’s VIP auctioneers.
While collecting, Puckett developed a friendship with artist Scott Jacobs, who introduced Gary to the Park West team.
“That introduction gave us an amazing idea,” says Betteridge.
Park West hosts multiple special events for their VIP collectors every year—some take place aboard luxury cruise ships, others take place in the world’s most beautiful vacation destinations. Each exclusive gathering features art exhibitions, auctions, fine dining, and excursions, but Betteridge realized that Park West could make these events even more unforgettable.
“We thought it would be fantastic to also have a live performance by a music industry titan, who loves art collecting just as much as everyone there,” Betteridge says.
Puckett liked the idea and, in 2014, he performed for the first time at a Park West event. The collectors were completely knocked out by his performance, but Puckett and Betteridge had another surprise up their sleeves.
Puckett notes that there’s a natural connection between art and music—in his words, they’re both “expressions from the heart and soul”—and Betteridge knew that several of Park West’s top artists were also accomplished musicians.
So, imagine the shock of the VIP collectors when the artists who were exhibiting their work throughout the event picked up their own instruments and joined Puckett on stage.
As they backed up Puckett on a selection of his greatest hits, in that moment, a new band was born—a NEW Union Gap.
“We even dress up in the Civil War costumes like The Union Gap used to,” says Betteridge. “It’s so much fun. The collectors love it.”
Since 2014, Gary Puckett has performed all over the world for Park West VIP collectors. In February 2018, Puckett and his all-artist band reunited for a special show in California’s Napa Valley. They were joined by famed French artist Duaiv, an accomplished classical cellist, who opened for the band with a stirring performance.
“We love having Gary in the Park West family, both as a musician and a collector,” Betteridge says. “He’s this musical genius, but he also really and truly loves art.”
Puckett confirms that his passion for the art world is still going strong.
“My wife and I have about 12 or 14 Scott Jacobs paintings—he and his wife Sharon are very good friends of ours,” says Puckett. “We also have works from Max, Ginzburg, Fanch, Medvedev, Campanile, Erte, and various others. And let’s not forget Guyton. We’re running out of walls but we’re going to have to get a Duaiv and a Yanke soon!”
Puckett plans to keep playing at Park West events, and Betteridge couldn’t be happier about it.
“Having someone at Gary Puckett’s level performing at our events really brings home how special our VIP events are,” says Betteridge. “We’re not just serving wine and cheese. We connect our collectors with our artists, we display the absolute best works of art we can offer, and we create these once-in-a-lifetime vacation experiences too.”
“You get to share your love of art with people who are just like you, in some of the most beautiful places in the world, and sometimes a rock star shows up and sings ‘Woman Woman.’ How great is that?”