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Dallas’ reputation for doing things big extended into the charity auction realm last weekend with MTV’s third annual Re:Define event at the Dallas Contemporary museum. Kicking off an art week for the city, which extends to next week’s Dallas Art Fair, ticket sales and auction proceeds together raised more than $2 million in support of MTV’s Staying Alive initiative, which motivates HIV prevention and challenges global stigmas facing those with HIV and AIDS.
Pop artist Richard Phillips, who achieved notoriety with hyper-real paintings of Lindsay Lohan and the polemic “Playboy Marfa” sculpture, curated the music for the evening, while actress and model Jerry Hall was the guest of honor. Brother-sister duo Joyce and Kenny Goss, of the Goss-Michael Foundation, chaired the soiree.
The live auction segment featured plenty of work from high-profile artists like Damien Hirst, Angel Otero, Julian Schnabel, Mat Collishaw, Sarah Lucas and Jim Lambie; there was also a silent auction on Paddle8.com.
“One of the most exciting things is how many great artists gave us works for this cause,” said Kenny Goss, who began the nonprofit foundation — which promotes British contemporary art — with his then-partner, George Michael, in 2007. “A lot of the artists, especially the Brits, are friends of mine, so they give significantly more than they probably would. And George and I also collect them in depth.”
True to MTV’s aesthetic, the evening had a full on rock ’n’ roll vibe, from the guests’ outfits to the decor. “You think you’re at the MTV Music Video awards,” said Goss of the event decoration.
Phillips, who also had a large Lohan work in the auction, invited Brooklyn rock band Starred – which features his partner, Liza Thorn, on guitar and vocals – to perform, as well as rock legend Jennifer Herrema, plus Kurt Midness, her partner and member of her group Black Bananas DJing. “Music has always been a part of my work,” said Phillips, whose first solo museum exhibition, “Negation of the Universe,” opens at the Dallas Contemporary on April 11. “It’s silent in my paintings, but I can assure you that all of my paintings have music in them. In fact, being such a heavy Royal Trux [Herrema’s band through the 1990s] fan, most of the paintings that will be opening my survey show, if you look at them, you can imagine all of their songs playing in them, because that’s what soundtracked them.”
The New York-based Phillips has a deep connection to Dallas, having held his second major painting exhibition at the Turner & Runyon Gallery in 1997, as well as being the honoree for the Two x Two for AIDS and Art auction for amfAR in 2012. “My support for art and philanthropy is grounded in Dallas,” said Phillips. “It’s not only necessary [for artists to be philanthropic], it’s imperative. It happens all around, but there’s a particular focus here in Dallas.”
After cocktails, guests moved on to a seated buffet-style dinner featuring steaks and pot pie by The Experimental Table, clinked glasses full of Veuve Clicquot and then turned their attention to speeches by Georgia Arnold of MTV’s Staying Alive and Dallas Contemporary’s Peter Doroshenko. Then came the lively auction led by Paddle8 auctioneer Alexander Gilkes, who ran through several dozen lots, including a Julian Schnabel piece that went for $175,000 and a popular photo collage of Vladimir Putin called “Pussy Riot” by British artist Joe Black, which elicited a bid (albeit not a winning one) from Jerry Hall.
“It was going for such a low price, I thought, ‘My God, this is such a wonderful piece of art; I might get this,’” said Hall after the auction.
Hall grew up in nearby Mesquite, Texas, and now lives in Austin and London. Her connection to art and music is deep, having served as a muse for artists Francesco Clemente, Ed Ruscha and Lucian Freud, and, of course, having been married to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. “It’s a great charity, and art and music are two of my favorite things,” she said about her involvement as the guest of honor.
Hall was dressed in a handsome red sweater, which was a tribute to her ex’s late girlfriend. “L’Wren Scott designed this sweater,” said Hall. “She made lovely things.”
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