If Two x Two is Dallas’ indisputably glamorous uptown art auction, MTV RE:DEFINE is its decidedly funkier downtown counterpart. Both benefit AIDS research, but the 3-year-old RE:DEFINE is making its mark on the charitable landscape not only in funds raised — Friday’s event pulled in more than $2 million for the MTV Staying Alive Foundation — but also for the sheer energy in the room.
RE:DEFINE, which relocated from the Goss-Michael Foundation to the Dallas Contemporary, drew in the who’s who of the stylish social set, including Brian Bolke, Capera Ryan, Marlene and John Sughrue, Chris Byrne, John Clutts, Peter Doroshenko, co-chairs Joyce Goss and Kenny Goss, Jerry Hall, Jenny and John Kirtland, Niven Morgan, Jessica Olsson-Nowitzki, Rajan Patel, Kira Plastinina, Nancy Rogers, and Megan and Brady Wood. But local art movers and shakers such as CentralTrak’s Heyd Fontenot, Kevin Rubén Jacobs from Oliver Francis Gallery and the Public Trust’s Brian Gibb also turned up to show their support.
The man of the hour was undoubtedly artist Richard Phillips, who between posing for pictures with Starred singer Liza Thorn was relishing the installation of his Playboy Marfa sculpture in front of the Contemporary in readiness for his first U.S. solo museum exhibition.
The subject of so many “art vs. commerce” debates, the 40-foot sign with its neon bunny is now firmly in the former category, according to Phillips. “By bringing it to Dallas and installing it in front of the Contemporary, it’s now incontrovertibly a work of art.”
That settled, the guests moved into the museum’s main space to get down to the business at hand. After sampling the rather expansive offerings of farm-to-table dishes from Experimental Table, they bid on works by the likes of Jim Lambie, Chris Levine, Sarah Lucas and Russell Young.
Paddle8 founder Alexander Gilkes kept things moving along nicely in his role as auctioneer with a Hugh Grantian charm. His subtle encouragement drove prices for key works higher without any of the déclassé aggressiveness wielded by those less adept with a gavel. The biggest ticket items? Damien Hirst’s Pentadecanol, which drew $150,000, and Julian Schnabel’s Theory of Relativity, which garnered a gasp-worthy $175,000.
Phillips, who curated the event’s soundtrack, gave the evening a thematic focus, drawing parallels between the worlds of rock, painting and sculpture as he aligned MTV’s relationship with the irreducible core of rock ’n’ roll.
To that end, patrons enjoyed performances by Starred and a DJ set from Jennifer Herrema of the Black Bananas, closing out the night as vibrantly as it began.