The artist-mobilizing nonprofit RxArt hosted itsannual PARTY! last night, a silent auction-driven evening of artists,designers, and other celebrities uniting to sip cocktails and eat hors-d'oeuvres forthe sake of bringing much-needed artwork to the sterility of children's hospitals. The event, thrown by RxArt founder Diane Brown in conjunction with cosmetics line Chanel Beauté for 2011, has been a big draw for artists since its inception in 2000, and last night was no exception.
ARTINFO ran intoBill Powers, who, with fashion designer wife Cynthia Rowley, has been a member of RxArt's board for the last five years. He gave us sneak preview of this year's "Betweenthe Lines" coloring book, the star-studded artist collaboration theorganization hands out to young hospital patients. "Look at Rob's panda glitterstickers!" he said, opening the book to Rob Pruitt's metallic spread. Pruitt'sartwork, an image of overlapping zebras reportedly colored in shades of Chanel lipstick, also graced the cover.
Artist KAWS chatted with us a bit about his current projects, which involve going to Texas. He didn't contribute to this year's coloring book as he did last year. "It was just timing really," he explained. "Right now I'm working onthe Fort Worth museum exhibition in December, just a soloshow at the Modern Art Museum. But we're doing some projects with hospitals in L.A.and New York.I love Diane Brown. She's a special lady."
While guests sipped cocktails and used Chanel markers to colorin a black and white mural echoing Pruitt's cover art, others were locked in a fierce bidding war in the silentauction.
"It's great to have Aggy Gund here," Powers told us,referring to philanthropist and power art collector Agnes Gund. She was a toughcompetitor for several pieces, including April Gornik's "Light in theWoods," a piece from the coloring book. Gund put in four bids before another bidder closed the auction at $1,400. She also put up a valiant fight for an untitledDavid Hammons piece, a vague outline of what appears to be Buddhaseated before the sun, several times outbidding Powers, but ultimately losing toartist Aaron Young, who brought it home for $3,600. Ruthie Friedlander, Olivia Kim, and Terry Richardson were locked in a three-way battle for Ryan Foerster's "Untitled (Fucked Up Horse)," but Richardson came out on top for $2,400.
The artwork up for auction had various levels ofchild-friendliness: Lizzi Bougatsos's 2009 "Hey Jack (don't worry I won'tembarrass you)" featured a Norman Rockwell-like firefighter shaking hands withMickey Mouse, who happened to have a full three-dimensional erection burstingforth from the piece. Miranda July, in a not surprisingly quirky and adorable fashion,contributed "Begging," a pull-down curtain scrawled with the words "If thisshade is down, I'm begging your forgiveness on bended knee with tears streamingdown my face." It went for $700.
Yoko Ono contributed a piece of her "Promise" mural, whichwas originally a seven-foot-tall jigsaw puzzle of wispy clouds adrift a bright blue sky that she debuted at the United Nations Headquarters in 2009. "Promise Piece II," a single puzzle piece out of a set of 67, broughtin $1,900 for the cause. Intense bidding went on for Aurel Schmidt's "CrapButterflies," images of colorfully winged insects with cigarettes for bodies on singed paper. Pages of bids were placed before the winning $6,500 was put down. And the largest taker of the evening was Nate Lowman's "Reverse Snowman HoldingHis Own Head," a 2011 alkyd on canvas pointilist image of melancholy mounds of snow, which sold for $24,000.
James Franco,who co-hosted last year's fete with Richardson, was absent from this year's festivities, but his artwork waspresent. The actor-turned-artist contributed six pieces to the auction, aseries of Polaroids of lounging friends, parties, and seemingly random musings — newspaperads, posters, and a shot of himself taking a picture on a disposable camera — framedin sets of five. "Asheville #2" sold for thestarting bid of $8,000, while at night's end, the bidding pages for Asheville #1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 remained blank.