Art, artists aid AIDS in Africa

(Red) auction raises more than $10 million to fight disease

Photos courtesy of Getty Images / Miami Times
Photos courtesy of Getty Images / Miami Times

Miami Times Staff Report

Only four days after marking World AIDS Day, Art Basel Miami Beach patrons raised $10.5 million to fight against the disease in sub-Sahara Africa.

Bono, and social artist Theaster Gates and Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye, were joined by guests including Larry Gagosian, Craig Robins, Naomi Campbell, Karolina Kurkova, Christian Louboutin, Derek Blasberg, Marc Quinn, Guggi Rowan, Bobby Shriver, Princess Alia Al- Senussi, HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan, Ebony G. Patterson, Hank Willis Thomas, Dr. Deborah Willis, Sue Webster, Ti-A Thuy Nguyen, James Casebere, Stephen Burks and Ben Milstein at the third (RED) Auction on Dec. 5 in Wynwood.

(RED) was founded in 2006 to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. Curated by Gates and Adjaye in collaboration with U2’s Bono, the auction featured contemporary art and design donated by Jenny Saville, Sean Scully, Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson, Jennifer Guidi and many more prominent creators. In addition, Adjaye and Gates created unique pieces for the sale.

“Conjuring this exhibition has been such a privilege. We are so grateful to the art, architecture and design community, all of our friends and colleagues who stepped up … to contribute such beautiful work,” said Adjaye.

Gates’ “A Flag for The Least of Them,” sold for $807,000, an auction record for the artist. Additional auction records were set for artists including Jennifer Guidi, Hank Willis Thomas and Leo Villareal.

“Pieces of work that now will extend beyond traditional utility and serve an even greater purpose in helping save lives,” said Gates.

The concurrent (RED) Online auction remains open for bidding through 4 p.m., Friday Dec. 7. The public exhibition is on view at Craig Robins’ Moore Building in Wynwood.

To date, (RED) has generated more than $600 million to support HIV/AIDS programs in Africa, while also helping to fund the Rebuild Foundation, an organization championed by 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,” said the band U2’s Bono, (RED) co-founder. “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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