For the past five years, MTV RE:DEFINE has been one of the most spectacular charitable soirees of the season. Benefiting the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and the Dallas Contemporary (its host venue for this year’s edition), the art auction and gala on April 8 is turning up the volume with the most impressive lineup of artists and insiders yet.
Here are five reasons not to miss it:
The Elevated Art
RE:DEFINE has always been a key event to snag both blue-chip works and up-and-comer canvases, but this year’s roster is strictly A-list — all the way.
Says Kenny Goss, who founded the event with Joyce Goss, “It’s the best art in the history [of RE:DEFINE] and one of the most significant art auctions I’ve seen in a long time.”
Patrons can bid on a Damien Hirst painting or snag an abstract representation of New York’s “Lipstick Building” from RE:DEFINE honoree Enoc Perez. A museum-worthy sculpture by Sterling Ruby and classically chic image of model Carolyn Murphy by photographer Bruce Weber are also on the docket.
But Goss may be most excited about an iconic — and rare — ocular work by painter Marc Quinn. “They’re actually one of the most difficult things to get,” Goss explains. “The winner gets to go to Marc’s studio and visit him, and he paints their iris.”
The Coolest Curator
There’s no doubt the art selection — which also includes the likes of Juergen Teller, Dan Colen, Tony Cragg, and Rob Pruitt — is impressive, but the collective works are only as good as who curates them. In the case of this year’s RE:DEFINE, that role is filled by Neville Wakefield.
A curator for London’s Frieze Art Fair, Wakefield is also a contributor to Artforum, Art in America, ID, Interview, and British and Italian Vogue. In other words, the man has taste.
“I love everything he curates,” Goss says. “He adds a wonderful touch to his shows that I could never do.”
The Elegant Auctioneer
It’s always a treat to watch the dapper and dynamic Simon de Pury wield his gavel. The co-founder of Philips de Pury & Company — one of the largest auction houses in the world — has been called the “Mick Jagger of art auctions.”
“He can work a room better than anyone I’ve ever seen," Goss says. “He does almost all the major auctions.” It’s been a few years since de Pury has been behind the RE:DEFINE lectern, and his eloquent return is certainly not to be missed.
The Hometown Heroes
For the first time, RE:DEFINE is honoring an organization alongside an artist for their generosity and philanthropy. And there is no better recipient than Headington Companies, known not only for the covetable art collection on the walls of The Joule hotel downtown, but also for its support of myriad local institutions.
“The Dallas art world wouldn’t be the same without them,” Goss says.
The Celebrity Chanteuse
Grammy and Brit Award nominee and MTV Video Music Award winner Leona Lewis is sure to make the 2016 RE:DEFINE the most sonically impressive yet. Discovered by pop Svengali Simon Cowell, Lewis has been compared to Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Celine Dion.
But she possesses an every-girl appeal not often seen in the modern diva. And, with a four-octave range, she’s likely to bring down the house with a set of her greatest hits.