The 21st edition of Two x Two for AIDS and Art whisked guests to Morocco for an exotic dinner and contemporary art auction benefiting amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and the Dallas Museum of Art.
As 500 patrons arrived at the The Rachofsky House's famous 7,000-square-foot geodesic dome tent on October 26, clouds of blue ombre hydrangea crawled over the entry, while Moroccan lanterns, candles, and tiles filled the dome. Using the tent interiors and giant video board, the auction items — there were 153 pieces on offer — were displayed throughout the night.
The gala was designed and executed by planner extraordinare Todd Fiscus of Todd Events and hosted by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky along with Lisa and John Runyon.
As usual, the sold-out, black-tie affair attracted a who's who among Dallas art collectors and philanthropists, as well as artists and supporters from around the world — even a few royals. Among the notable attendees were presenting sponsor Nancy C. Rogers, Vogue editor Hamish Bowles, Two x Two director Melissa Ireland, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, Kameron Westcott, Kara and Randall Goss, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Capera Ryan, Meghan Looney, Nasiba Hartland-Mackie, Edward P. Bass, Brian Bolke, Faisal Halum, Emily and Steve Summers, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, and Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece.
The Moroccan-inspired fête began with a cocktail reception featuring sips by Ruinart champagne, Tequila Casa Dragones, Moët Hennessy USA, and Belvedere. Guests perused the luxury items in the silent auction before sitting down for a multicourse dinner.
The co-chairs took the stage to thank the sponsors, donors and attendees of the 21st annual event.
“Embarking into our third decade of Two x Two, it is clear that the enthusiasm continues to swell around supporting these two organizations," said Howard Rachofsky, who went on to announce a special initiative for the evening.
"Having started Two x Two week with the devastating impact from tornadoes in our neighborhood, it was unanimous among all leadership at Two x Two, the Dallas Museum of Art, and amfAR that a portion of the proceeds this year be given to support the relief efforts in our immediate community," he told the crowd. "After all, Two x Two was created to save lives and brighten them up with the beauty of art."
Kevin Robert Frost, chief executive officer at amfAR, presented artist Alex Katz with amfAR’s 2019 Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS.
“Our honoree this evening joins a pantheon of distinguished honorees who represent the crème de la crème of contemporary American art," he said. "I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of our honored artist award than Alex Katz.”
Anna Katherine Brodbeck, the Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, added about the artist, "Katz has been steadfastly creating portraits, often of loved ones and friends, and environmentally scaled landscapes for the past 60 years. However, he clearly does not rest on his laurels."
Katz's painting SOUTH LIGHT 2 was featured at the gala, which, Brodbeck said, "evinces the mastery of a long career while still surprising in its immediacy of expression, worlds away from the punchy stylization of pop art, the movement of which he is considered by many to be a progenitor.”
At the dinner’s conclusion, hit singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc entertained the crowd with a trio of his hits: "Wake Me Up," “I Need a Dollar,” and “The Man."
Then patrons got the chance to raise big bucks in the live auction, conducted by Oliver Barker, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe. The live auction featured seven artworks including those by Sarah Crowner, Derek Fordjour, Barry X Ball, Frank Bowling, Ross Bleckner, and Andre Butzer, as well as Katz. A number of luxury and experiential packages, an original 1969 Jean Prouvé filling station, and a complete library of 426 Taschen rare books were also up for grabs.
In total, the night raised a breathtaking $8 million for amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Those who wished to raise a celebratory glass or two headed for an after party, presented by Neiman Marcus, which at which DJ Lucy Wrubel rocked the back garden of The Rachofsky House till the wee hours.
The annual black-tie gala, part of a week-long series of events, is the largest U.S. fundraiser for amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art. Since its inception, Two x Two for AIDS and Art has raised over $92 million in support of essential AIDS research at amfAR and for the Contemporary Art Acquisitions Fund at the Dallas Museum of Art.