Online Auction

Last bids: 7:45 pm EST September 30

Click on individual items to bid.

Welcome to Under the Volcano’s 2015 online auction. We are immensely grateful to the artists, restaurateurs, home owners, writers, performers and institutions that have made this selection so exciting and diverse. All the proceeds from these outstanding offers go directly to help talented writers offset the cost of attending our January 2016 master classes in Tepoztlán, Mexico.

Established in 2003, Under the Volcano is a ten-day program of writing master classes that convenes every January in the legendary village of Tepoztlán. Intended for committed writers with projets underway, the program is open to poets, short story writers, novelists, journalists, librettists, memoirists and essayists, as well as those working on projects that challenge traditional genre lines.


Our Special Vacation packages give you a week in the legendary village of Tepoztlán, Under the Volcano’s base, one hour from Mexico City in the foothills of the great volcanoes Popocatéptl and Ixtaccíhuatl. A world unto itself with thriving pre-Hispanic traditions, its own pyramid, a 16th century UNESCO World Heritage church and a bustling daily market, Tepoztlán is also a perfect launching pad for exploring nearby Cuernavaca, Taxco, the pottery village of Tlayacapan or the citadel of Xochicalco, all within an hour’s drive and suitable for day trips.

Available by arrangement with the owners between February 1 and December 10, 2016.
This offer includes:
• 7 nights and days for up to 6 with one full weekend;
• Master bedroom (king-sized bed) & two guest rooms;
• Services of cook and housekeeper for 5 days (your choice of breakfast and lunch or dinner, ingredients at your expense);
• Daily use of pool;
• Gourmet dinner with a talk on Mexican art by your hostess;
• Studio visits to local Mexican artists.
• Wifi, of course.

Note: Winning bidder for this package will be required to supply name, address and a fully refundable security deposit of $500 before arrival.

HEART OF TEPOZTLÁN (2 available)
Available by arrangement with the owner between April 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.
This offer includes:
• 7 nights and days for up to 4 with one full weekend
• Two side-by-side elegantly furnished bedrooms with full beds & shared bath
• Twice weekly cleaning
• Private 4-hour cooking class with Cocinar Mexicano
• Escorted climb to the pyramid or guided hike (your choice)
• Market & museum tour with art expert Janet Dawson
• Wifi of course

Note: Winning bidders for this package will be required to supply name, address and a fully refundable security deposit of $500 before arrival.

Available by arrangement with the owner between April 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.
This offer includes:
• 7 nights and days for up to 6 including one full weekend
• Three bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths
• Daily services of cook and housekeeper (your choice of breakfast and lunch or inner, with ingredients and shopping costs at your expense).
• Daily use of solar-heated pool
• Wifi, of course, and satellite TV

Note: Winning bidders for this package will be required to supply name, address and a fully refundable security deposit of $500 before arrival.

TASTE OF THE TOWN (New York only) – 5 items

We are honored and excited to have the generous support of the three top Mexican restaurants in New York and their respective chefs, who are all adding their cookbooks to an evening of fine dining. If you live within walking, biking, hiking or driving distance of any of these places you have got yourself and your guests a great evening on the town.

Mexican born and raised, Chef Barbara Sibley founded La Palapa in 2000 to bring authentic Mexican food to New York diners. A one-woman whirlwind and culinary ambassador, she is a tireless advocate for the depth and breadth of Mexican cuisine, the first to be recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Heritage of Mankind. Her restaurant on St. Mark’s Place is a not-to-be missed destination for aficionados and uninitiated alike.

Our Palapa package offers a tequila and antojitos tasting menu for four, along with a copy of Barbara’s book, Antojitos: Festive and Flavorful Mexican Small Plates.

Mexican chef Roberto Santibáñez first made his name at New York’s Rosa Mexicano, where he put his original, sophisticated stamp on classical Mexican cuisine. He’s now the chef/owner of Fonda, with three relaxed locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, where he continues his culinary riffs with the kind of contemporary, urban Mexican food you’d find in Mexico City.

Our Fonda package offers a 4-course dinner for four with margaritas and mezcal, as well as copies of Roberto’s latest cookbook, Tacos, Tortas & Tamales. Your winning bid is valid at any Fonda: Park Slope, Lower East Side or Chelsea.

Tucked away on one of Greenwich Village’s shortest but most enchanting streets, Cornelia Street Café is one of New York’s worst kept secrets: an intimate restaurant with top-notch fare, a literary aura and a downstairs theater that presents live jazz, cabaret and literary events seven nights a week.

Called “a culinary as well as a cultural landmark” by mayoral proclamation, this favorite of the cognoscenti is offering its prix-fixe dinner for two plus wine flights with your choice of two tickets to one of its signature downstairs events. Owner Robin Hirsch will be master of ceremonies at your table.

Two years in, this small, chic restaurant down the block from Lincoln Center has already earned its stripes, or better yet, its Michelin star. With gorgeous presentations of both classic and contemporary Spanish fare, Andanada has made its name with its sophisticated tapas, which put a delightful and delicious spin on the ingredients you would expect to find in a bar in Barcelona or Madrid. Reservations are hard to come by, so this dinner offer, which pairs the chef’s tapas and entrées with sangría for the table and his personal selections of Spanish wines, is your ticket to an unforgettable dining experience. Added bonus: Live flamenco from 7 to 9 pm on Tuesday nights.

Mexican chef Enrique Olvera opened his first US restaurant in 2014 and instantly soared to the top of the culinary charts with this hip riff on his award-winning Pujol in Mexico City, listed year after year as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Located in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, Cosme fuses Mexican and local ingredients, creating dishes that feel at once credible and novel. Olvera, known for his technical panache and creativity, graduated with highest honors from the mecca of cuisine, Culinary Institute of America, where he learned to appreciate the bounty of the Hudson Valley, whose farmers supply most of the fresh produce in this restaurant that fuses Mexican and local ingredients.

Cosme’s dinner for two pairs curated selections from their menu with mezcal and tequila tastings overseen tableside by Olvera’s expert manager, Gonzalo Gout, and includes a private tour of their impeccable, incredible kitchen.


We are lucky and honored to be able to present a small selection of outstanding work by artists in Mexico and the United States. All those represented here have had multiple one-man or one-woman shows and their work is routinely bought by museums and corporate private collectors. Thanks to their generosity, we are able to offer their work significantly below the prices they would normally cost.

The prolific Colombian painter and collage artist Juanita Pérez lives and works in Tepoztlán, Mexico, where she draws inspiration in equal parts from the embrace of the surrounding mountains and her extensive travels, which have been virtually worldwide. Her layered, brilliantly colored, textured work, often glinting with metallics, pays homage to her Latin American roots as well as her deep affinity with Asia, but arises from her distinctly personal vision and passionate use of both traditional and non-traditional materials.

Pérez has had dozens of one-woman shows in leading museums and galleries in Mexico, Colombia and the United States and her work hangs in a multitude of private and corporate collections in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.

Zimbabwean-born painter Alex Zwarenstein holds a masters degree in painting from the Royal Academy of Art in London and now makes his home in New York City, where he teaches painting at the venerable Art Students League and perspective at the School of Visual Arts. His technically polished, suggestive, architecturally inspired work is prized by collectors around the world. Zwarenstein’s work is represented in the holdings of, among others, the Museum of The City Of New York, the New York Stock Exchange, the London City Council, the National Gallery of Art of Zimbabwe, the Texas Tech University Public Art Collection, the San-In Godo Bank, Japan, and in major international corporate and private collections.

Toby Old was born in Minneapolis and retains deep roots in the American heartland despite decades in New York, where he teaches at International Center of Photography. Olds is known for a profound dedication to his art, and for his wide range of subject matter, which continues to move through epic thematic cycles that reflect his ongoing quest to see and record the celebrations and manifestations of humanity, both urban and rural, domestic and foreign. Recent work has explored parades, county fairs, dance and religion.

Work by Toby Old hangs in prestigious collections around the world, from Minneapolis to Tokyo to Paris, and is regularly shown in solo shows too numerous to mention.

Mexican artist Elena Climent is known internationally for her virtuoso compositions of objects both iconic and ordinary: intimate habitats that acquire an aura of ritual through her unique ability to depict the landscapes of memory and domesticity. Most often explictly Mexican, nearly always literary, her work draws also on objects that resonate in her own studio, living room or kitchen. In Climent’s paintings, which typically sell for thousands of dollars, bookshelves become altars, and altars speak volumes.

While continuing to paint in oil and watercolor, Climent has recently created a body of work entirely on iPads, discovering a whole new way of seeing, while achieving an unprecedented level of technical purity.

“Creating art on an iPad or computer is the closest I have ever felt to drawing or painting directly from my mind. I look, I think, I decide what color I want and I make it happen on the screen. I have learned to mix colors in my brain. My experience with iPad art has taught me that even something as seemingly cold, industrial and impersonal as a computer screen can become intimate, personal and poetic.”

New York painter, photographer and printmaker Joan Ades takes her inspiration from nature, often building her work by layering and painting her own paper. After studying at Pratt Institute, she worked as an assistant to the curators in the Department of Prints and Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and then as a photojournalist and photo researcher. She exhibited exclusively as a photographer until moving to the Hudson Valley in 1982. Since then she has produced a steady stream of paintings, collages and prints that capture her deep relationship to landscape and color.


This is the real thing: right on Astor Place, one block from the subway, a 24-hour beehive of writerly inspiration, space and creativity. New York’s very own urban writer’s colony calls itself “a place where dreams become words,” and nothing could be truer. Since its founding in 1978, members of the Room have written more than 1000 books. More than just a place to work, the Room is a community of writers whose common energy creates a powerful incentive to focus and finish. Open to poets, fiction writers, biographers, screenwriters, playwrights and journalists—anyone whose work involves the written word. Whether you lack space at home or just need to give yourself a push, this is a wonderful place and a great offer.

Start that memoir, novel, short story, screenplay or journalistic piece you’ve been thinking of writing, or submit up to 50 pages of a work-in-progress. You will work one on one with UTV director Magda Bogin (fiction, non-fiction or translation) or faculty members Jonathan Levi (fiction, theater or journalism) or Alison Wearing (memoir). Choose the instructor you prefer or let us make the match for you based on what you’re writing. Your 3-hour private Skype or phone session will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time for you and your instructor, with your writing sample emailed in advance. You will receive written feedback and suggestions for revision. Option to schedule two 90-minute sessions instead of one 3-hour block.


A graduate of Mannes College, where she is a member of the piano faculty, and a founding member of the Cameo Trio, Denise Kahn is featured in Noah Adams’ classic book Piano Lessons as an Upper West Side institution. Her students represent a cross-section of serious amateurs and aspiring professionals, but private lessons with this one-of-a-kind teacher are only the beginning. For the past twenty years, she has created a multi-faceted musical community that meets throughout the year for chamber music evenings with professional string players, four-hand events and lieder recitals with professional singers.

This offer of three private lessons is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to resume or begin playing the piano with one of the finest teachers available.

Under federal tax law, the successful bidder will be entitled to a charitable contribution deduction only to the extent the amount paid exceeds the fair market value of the auction item purchased.