RxArt Honors Artist Dan Colen, “The Man Who Made Precious Bird Shit and Bubblegum”
NEW YORK — M&Ms filled the air as RxArt, the organization dedicated to placing fine art into healthcare facilities, took over the gallery at Milk Studios last night for the 12th annual RxArt party. Artists Dustin Yellin, Aurel Schmidt, and Will Cotton joined a stylish crowd that included model Arizona Muse, Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez, and art collector Adam Lindemann to imbibe, socialize, and bid on the silent auction and live auction to benefit RxArt.
The event honored artist Dan Colen for his ongoing work with RxArt and his upcoming permanent installation at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. Colen described the pieces he plans to install in the children’s ward. “It’s these drawings I’m doing with M&Ms, and these sculptures I’m making out of rocks that I paint to look like M&Ms, so I just thought the kids could make some fun relationship to it,” he said.
RxArt founder and executive director Diane Brown explained why the organization honored Colen. “He’s just so filled with joy and his art is, so what do you want in a hospital but to change the whole energy, right?” she said, before adding that she had her eye on a couple pieces. We asked if she could tell us which ones. “Absolutely not!” she replied.
Then we bumped into gallerist and RxArt board member Bill Powers as he was admiring Colen’s colorful “Untitled” M&M drawing, which was to be auctioned off. “It’s beautiful, right?” Powers said. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands, but apparently on paper.”
Moments before the live auction we caught the charming auctioneer C.K. Swett, who was going to take the stage after fellow auctioneer and Paddle8 founder Alexander Gilkes. “He’s going to make them smile with his charm and his verbal agility, and I’m going to tug at their heart strings and get some direct pledges,” said Swett.
Gilkes certainly flexed his verbal agility with an interesting choice of words to introduce Colen. “We are here to stand behind the man who has huge talent and huge heart — Dan Colen, the pharaoh of the New York art scene — the man who made precious bird shit and bubblegum,” said Gilkes.
Brown finally revealed which work she had her eye on — the M&M drawing by Colen, which she did not bid on till the end. “At $19,000 it is the last chance for all of you to take part,” announced Gilkes. “It looks like Diane, our generous hostess is then the proud owner of this work — going once, going twice — sold!”