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Dallas is the unofficial philanthropy capital of the United States, so what better way to launch Dallas Arts Week — the week of festivities surrounding the Dallas Art Fair — than with a benefit? Last Friday, Dallas Contemporary hosted the MTV RE:DEFINE auction and gala, which helped raise funds for both the museum and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation.
“We are often funding projects that are brave, projects that other people wouldn’t be able to fund, or wouldn’t want to fund,” said Georgia Arnold, founder and director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. “We fund young organizations that are run by young people, but we come in as first funders, because the funding we give them isn’t enormous, but as a first funder that money makes a real difference. We not only invest in them for four years, but we also train them.”
Chaired by Kenny Goss and his sister-in-law Joyce Goss, the event is in its third year. Organizers called in Paddle8 to run the fundraiser’s online auction, and for the services of its co-founder Alexander Gilkes, to serve as the auctioneer for the live auction, as well as artist Richard Phillips, who has a show opening at Dallas Contemporary next Friday, to curate the music programming of the rock-and-roll-themed event, which included a DJ set by Jennifer Herrema of the Black Bananas, and a performance by Starred.
For Phillips, the experience was all about “being able to bring together art and philanthropy for a younger audience, and the addition of music and creating an event that would attract and inspire younger members of the community to get involved, to expose themselves to new music, new art, and also the idea that these things are integrated into philanthropy, and specifically RE:DEFINE, which is a philanthropic entity that is about inspiration and building a community to create awareness about HIV, and about taking action.”
Guests, who included model — Jerry Hall, designer Eddie Borgo, designer Misha Nonoo, Anna-Sophia van Zweden, Shelby Wagner, and Dallas Art Fair founders Chris Byrne and John Sughrue — sipped Veuve Clicquot champagne while noshing on bites by Experimental Table. Ever the dynamic auctioneer, Gilkes joked “history will judge us,” as Joe Black’s portrait of Russian president Vladimir Putin titled Pussy Riot, that was assembled from suggestive pins of naked women fetched $42,000. Gilkes later auctioned off Chris Levine’s She’s Light (Dots), a portrait of Kate Moss, who Gilkes referred to as “the Patron Saint of Pharmaceuticals,” for $35,000. A Damien Hirst spot painting went for $150,000, while Julian Schnabel’s Theory of Relativity went for $175,000.
At the end of the night the event closed with a special intimate performance by Starred. The evening was a success, raising over $2 million for Dallas Contemporary and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation.