Bono, Hirst auction combines art and charity

Mon Feb 4, 2008 3:58pm EST
 
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By Christopher Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The contemporary art world's brightest stars, including Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, have aligned to provide AIDS relief in Africa with a special auction in New York conceived by Hirst and rock star Bono.

"The (Red) Auction" is estimated to take in up to $29 million and is being billed by Sotheby's as the biggest contemporary art charity auction ever.

Dozens of works went on display on Monday at Manhattan's Gagosian Gallery before the February 14 sale to benefit the United Nation's HIV relief program in Africa.

"We are just bowled over by the quality and sheer depth" of the 83 paintings, sculptures, photographs and other works on offer, said Oliver Barker, senior international specialist for contemporary art at Sotheby's in London.

"It's the cream of the international contemporary art crop," Barker said of the roster that includes Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami.

Hirst contributed seven works, including "Where there's a will there's a way," a monumental medicine chest sculpture containing hundreds of metal HIV pills. It is the sale's top-priced lot, estimated to fetch $5 million to $7 million.

Another Hirst medicine cabinet sold for nearly $20 million in London last autumn.

"I remember when I couldn't give my art away," Hirst said in a statement. "It wasn't long ago, either." Now "it's great to be able to give something back."   Continued...

 
<p>Visitors view Damien Hirst's "All You Need Is Love" artwork at Sotheby's auction house in central London December 5, 2007. The contemporary art world's brightest stars have aligned to provide AIDS relief in Africa with a special auction in New York conceived by Hirst and rock star Bono. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>