The third (RED) auction raised a total $10.5 million including matching funds by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the fight against AIDS. Curated by art and architecture stars Theaster Gates and Sir David Adjaye in collaboration with musician and activist Bono, the auction, held in Miami, featured contemporary art and design donated by Jenny Saville, Sean Scully, Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson, Jennifer Guidi and many more. In addition, Sir David Adjaye and Theaster Gates created unique pieces for the sale.
Bono Speaks at the Third (RED) Auction in Miami
The auction continued with (RED) Online, which remained open for bidding until 7 December at 4pm EST. The public exhibition presented by Gagosian was on view at the Moore Building, thanks to Craig Robins. A number of artist auction records were achieved in the live auction portion of event thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of a star-studded crowd who vied for works centered around the theme of light and the color red. Theaster Gates A Flag for the Least of Them led the evening’s results, achieving $807,000, a new record for the artist at auction. Additional auction records were set for artists including Jennifer Guidi, Hank Willis Thomas and Leo Villareal.
Bidding Opens with Christina Quarles’ ‘Untitled All Tha Truth’
To date, (RED) has generated more than $600 million for the Global Fund to support lifesaving HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa, while also helping to fund community-strengthening programs in Chicago with the Rebuild Foundation – an organization championed by Theaster Gates.
The December event follows two previous (RED) Auctions conducted by Sotheby’s. The first, organized by Bono and Damien Hirst in February 2008, featured works donated by Hirst, Banksy, Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn, Georg Baselitz and Howard Hodgkin, among others, and established 17 new auction records. The second, curated by Jony Ive and Marc Newson in 2013, offered important 20th- and 21st-century design, and attracted matching funds for the AIDS fight from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
These auctions have been game changing for the AIDS fight. It’s not just about the cash they bring in, which is literally lifesaving – but it’s also about the heat, about keeping this epidemic on the public agenda. Art has always been a vehicle for activism and for truth telling and the truth of the matter is that we’re at a pivotal point where the progress we’ve achieved is in real jeopardy. Theaster and David – and all the artists here tonight – are raising the red flag at a critical time when fatigue and complacency are very real threats to the future of this virus.
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This article has been edited by The Art Dose.