A couple Saturdays ago, the inaugural MTV RE:DEFINE benefit exhibition and auction opened at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas. As we previewed a couple weeks back, curators, The Future Tense, brought together an impressive roster of 30 emerging and established artists in the contemporary and urban/street art genres  – including such big names as Damien Hirst, Shepard Fairey, Harland Miller, Faile, Russell Young and Tracey Emin – to commemorate 30 years of AIDS research. Phillips de Pury & Company brokered the auction to a sold-out audience of 300 VIP collectors, with Simon de Pury flying into the Lone Star State especially to host the event and motivate participants to dig deep for the worthy cause. When all was said and done, the auction raised more than $770,000 for MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation, with steady bidding and the bulk of the lots selling above their high estimates.

An overview of all the results from the auction, some additional perspective, as well as installation and opening night photos, after the jump.


“We are absolutely thrilled with Saturday’s auction results and delighted that we have been able to raise such a a significant amount for the Staying Alive Foundation,” said Georgia Arnold, Executive Director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. “Thanks to the enormous generosity of each and every artist and gallery, and of course the bidders, sponsors and silent auction donors, the money raised will enable young people to continue their amazing work in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS in local communities around the world”

On the whole, results from benefit auctions need to be taken in stride, both the impressively high and the surprisingly low results. For a variety of reasons, such as scheduling, location, and exclusivity, they can be hit or miss. Much like the Watermill Summer Benefit, which saw some hits (ie. someone wanting the Tauba Auerbach enough to opt for the buy it now at $7,000) and other missing, last weekends RxArt Benefit saw frenzied bidding for Nate Lowman and Aurel Schmidt yet tepid action for others. This is an inevitability.

Similarly, the overall risks are often concentrated to the artists themselves while the benefits are primarily reaped by the brokers, galleries, collectors, along with the charities, of course. Due to the inherent risk of a miss and the shortcomings to the benefits even in the case of a hit, Huffington Post art critic Mat Gleason has brashly gone so far as to advocate artists “boycott” charity auctions altogether. Perhaps there is some validity to his points. Though it could be countered that the author’s argument is narrow-minded, protectionist, and insensitive. By their very nature, benefit auctions are intended to benefit the charity not artist. In this case, however, the astute curating, the socioeconomic diversity of bidders, the open accessibility, and the dedication to the cause manifested a win-win scenario across the board for all players, artists and charity together as evidenced by the strength of nearly every result and the total money raised.

Not surprisingly, Damient Hirst’s Beautiful Magnificent Gossipmonge was the star lot of the night. The rare hybrid butterfly and spin painting with cubic zirconia, a unique one-off example, ended up selling for $240,000 to an unnamed phone bidder from Los Angeles. While not quite the The Golden Calf, a formaldehyde encased cow that still stands as his personal record setting $18.6 million sale, it is high relative to other spin paintings, thanks to the incorporation of iconic Hirst media typically reserved for seperate series. As such, the sizable result accounted for nearly a third of the total proceeds.

Much like Bonhams September Urban Art Sale, occurring just a few days prior across the pond, Shepard Fairey also stood out from the pack. Flag (White) is special monochromatic version of a series of silkscreen and collage HPMs, each originally based on the striking canvases from his May Day exhibition that helped see Deitch Projects come to an emphatic close last summer. The Aritst’s Proof of White Flag, similar to the set of color variations most recently displayed and available at his Your Ad Here show this summer, sold for $26,000, nearly three times the low estimate. Despite it coming at a benefit, this result proved incredibly strong (sixth highest ever), adding further evidence to there being a growing appetite for Fairey’s work at the auction level.

Russell Young’s Bardot, a departure from his Marilyn Monroe centric works that have fetched lofty results, was a strong piece that was reflected in a strong result. Instead paying tribute to Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot, one of the best-known sex-symbols of the 1960′s, the piece also nearly tripled the low estimate, selling for $28,000. The result stands as Young’s fifth highest auction sale to date, all four others occurring within the last year and his highest – Marilyn Crying selling for $48,774 (£30,000) – coming at Phillips de Pury’s February 2011 Contemporary Day Sale in London.

Additional strong results came from Pam Glew’s Rococo, which almost quadrupled the high estimate and sold for $20,000. Faile’s Made in America selling for $35,000, as well as James Marshall’s The Unfolding Heart selling for $17,000 were compelling results, especially that of the latter.

On the flipside, perhaps the steal of the night went to Tracey Emin’s It’s Not Me That’s Crying, It’s My Soul. For the most part in line with her auction results, which sometimes go for less than primary, the result of $32,500 was below the low estimate of $50,000. One would think the perpetual visual onslaught of neon Budweiser signs littering bars throughout the state of Texas would’ve seeded a subconscious demand for the Saatchi supported British artist. Perhaps the melancholy message went over the heads of even the 7ft Mavericks superstar Dirk Novitzki in attendance. These are the type of scenarios that make charity auctions so fun for collectors.

In the end, Phillips de Pury stated the event was “an unprecedented success” for a first-time event. Thanks to the massive exposure garnered and the incredible amount of money raised for the cause, it is AM’s understanding is that this is very likely to become an annual fixture. And with the artists who generously supported the benefit this year, we hope it does become a perennial affair and look forward to seeing what is in store next year. Despite various arguments out there, charity auctions do raise money for good causes and at the same time can raise the profile of artists who contribute their time and effort and place their art in the public eye. Bravo to all those involved.

Simon de Pury, Georgia Arnold, Ed Bartlett

Jessica Olsson, Dirk Nowitzki, Georgia Arnold

Jessica Olsson, Simon de Pury, Anna-Sophia van Zweden, Georgia Arnold

Georgia Arnold

Joyce Goss

Auction Room

 

Auction Results

Lot 1
Shepard Fairey (b.1970)
Flag (White), 2011
Silkscreen and mixed media collage on paper
Artist’s proof
73.7 x 111.8 cm (29 x 44 in)
Courtesy Shepard Fairey
Estimate $10,000 – 15,000
Sold For $26,000

 

Lot 2
Gavin Turk (b.1967)
Gold Triple Pop, 2009
Silkscreen on paper
Artist’s proof
100 x 70 cm (39.4 x 27.6 in)
This work is from an edition of 100 plus 20 artist’s proofs
Courtesy Gavin Turk / Live Stock Market
Estimate $4,000 – 6,000
Sold For $7,000

 

Lot 3
Peter Blake (b.1932)
I Love You (White), 2010
Silkscreen print, diamond dust
Artist’s proof
42 x 136.5 cm (16.5 x 53.7 in)
Artist
Estimate $4,000 – 6,000
Sold For $10,000

 

Lot 4
Ben Eine (b.1970)
Great Adventures, 2011
Spray-paint and diamond dust on canvas
120 x 120cm (47.2 x 47.2 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $5,000 – 7,000
Sold For $8,000

 

Lot 5
Haroshi (b.1978)
Screaming Foot, 2011
Recycled skateboards40 x 11 x 27 cm (15.7 x 4.3 x 10.6 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $8,000 – 12,000
Sold For $7,000

 

Lot 6
Harland Miller (b.1964)
A Fist to Cry On, 2011
Oil on canvas
120 x 80 x 5cm (47.2 x 31.5 x 2 in)
Courtesy White Cube
Estimate $20,000 – 30,000
Sold For $28,000

 

Lot 7
Katrin Fridriks (b.1974)
Royal Gene & Ethics, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
150 x 150 x 10 cm (59.1 x 59.1 x 3.9 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $10,000 – 15,000
Sold For $9,000

 

Lot 8
Tracey Emin (b.1963)
Its not me Thats Crying Its my Soul, 2011
Neon
Artist’s proof
190 x 150 cm (35.4 x 59.1 in)
This work is from an edition of 3 plus 2 artist’s proofs.
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $50,000 – 70,000
Sold For $32,500

 

Lot 9
Pieter Henket (b/1979)
Lady Gaga, 2011
Lambda print reverse mounted on Plexiglas
This work was created for the cover of ‘The Fame’, the debut album by Lady gaga and is unique in this format.
Estimate $15,000 – 20,000
Sold For $14,000

 

Lot 10
Russell Young (b.1960)
Bardot, 2010
Screenprint, acrylic, enamel and diamond dust on linen
96.5 x 76.2 cm (38 x 30 in)
This work is a unique colorway.
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $10,000 15,000
Sold For $28,000

 

Lot 11
Adam Ball (b.1977)
Everything Counts, 2011
Hand cut white felt, LED lights, perspex box, remote control
145 x 175 cm (57.1 x 68.9 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $15,000 – 20,000
Sold For $24,000

 

Lot 12
Faile (b.1975/1976)
Made in America, 2011
Acrylic and silkscreen ink on wood in steel frame
95.3 x 168.9 cm (37.5 x 66.5 in)
Courtesy Artists
Estimate $30,000 – 50,000
Sold For $35,000

 

Lot 13
D*Face
King Go’s Pop, 2011
Screenprint and acrylic on canvas
152.4 x 121.9 cm (60 x 48 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $25,000 – 35,000
Sold For $13,000

 

Lot 14
Benjamin Shine (b.1978)
15 Metres of Fame, 2011
15m of tulle on dyed canvas
142 x 142 x 24 cm (55.9 x 55.9 x 9.4 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $50,000 – 70,000
Sold For $28,000

 

Lot 15
Stuart Semple (b.1980)
Pteromechanophobia, 2011
Acrylic, charcoal, glitter and paintmarker on canvas
120 x 120 cm (47.2 x 47.2 in)
Estimate $18,000 – 25,000
Sold For $12,000

 

Lot 16
Jeremy Kost (b.1977)
Screaming Queen (Mimi Imfurst), 2011
Polaroid collage50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in)
Estimate $5,000 – 7,000
Sold For  $5,000

 

Lot 17
Christopher Gascoigne (b.1960)
The Tragedy of Hope, 2010
Single lightjet print reverse mounted on Diasec
Artist’s proof
180 x 180 cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)
This work is from an edition of 6 plus 2 artist’s proofs.
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $6,000 – 8,000
Sold For $5,000

 

Lot 18
Dan Witz (b.1957)
70 Commercial Street, 2010
Oil on canvas
86 x 91 cm (33.9 x 35.8 in)
Courtesy Artist / Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York
Estimate $6,000 – 8,000
Sold For $16,000

 

Lot 19
Jamel Shabazz (b.1960)
Life, 2010
Silver Gelatin Print
40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in)
This work is from an edition of 9.
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $2,500 – 3,500
Sold For $1,800

 

Lot 20
Gérard Rancinan (b.1953)
Hypothesis XI – The Martyr, 2010
Argentic print mounted on Plexiglas in artist’s frame
Artist’s proof
150 x 250 cm (59.1 x 98.4 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $20,000 – 30,000
Sold For $20,000

 

Lot 21
Damien Hirst (b.1965)
Beautiful Magnificent Gossipmonge Rumour Mill Painting (with Diamonds and Butteflies), 2007
Household gloss on canvas with butterflies and cubic zirconia
91.4 x 91.4 cm (36 x 36 in)
Courtesy Victim
Estimate $200,000 – 300,000
Sold For $240,000

 

Lot 22
Billy Childish (b.1959)
Sibelius Amongst Saplings, 2010
Oil and charcoal on linen
152 x 122 cm (59.8 x 48 in)
Courtesy Artist / Dowers Brothers / L-13 Light Industrial Workshop
Estimate $20,000 – 30,000
Sold For $25,000

 

Lot 23
Pam Glew (b.1978)
Rococo, 2011
Dye & bleaching technique on vintage Union Jack
151.3 x 83.4 cm (59.6 x 32.8 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $4,000 – 6,000
Sold For $20,000

 

Lot 24
Rankin (b.1966)
The Queen, 2001
61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in)
This work is from an edition of 25
Courtesy Aritst
Estimate $2,000 – 3,000
Sold For $6,000

 

Lot 25
James Marshall (b.1968)
The Unfolding Heart, 2011
Acrylic on wood
182.9 x 182.9 cm (72 x 72 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $8,000 – 12,000
Sold For $17,000

 

Lot 26
Lee Baker (b.1969)
Cloud Over Neo Tokyo, 2011
Acrylic on wood
170 x 115 cm (66.9 x 45.3 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $3,000 – 5,000
Sold For $7,000

 

Lot 27
Joseph Loughborough (b.1981)
Triangular Door, 2011
Charcoal and crayon on paper
100 x 70 cm (39.4 x 27.6 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $1,500 – 2,500
Sold For $1,500

 

Lot 28
Brian Adam Douglas (b.1972)
A Vicious Circle. An Endless Ride., 2011
Mixed media collage on paper
101.6 x 76.2 cm (40 x 30 in)
Courtesy Artist / Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
Estimate $3,000 – 5,000
Sold For $6,000

 

Lot 29
Polly Morgan (b.1980)
Transubstantiation, 2011
100 x 141 cm (39.4 x 55.5 in)
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $18,000 – 25,000
Sold For $18,000

 

Lot 30
Elizabeth Eamer (b.1980)
Beckoning Hands 001, 2011
Archival digital print on aluminum
Artist’s proof 1
100 x 141 cm (39.4 x 55.5 in)
This work is from an edition of 5 plus 2 artist’s proofs.
Courtesy Artist
Estimate $3,000 – 5,000
Sold For $3,000

Results and images courtesy Ed Bartlett / The Future Tense