Last night's (Auction)RED at Sotheby's was a complete success, succeeding in raising more than $42 million to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. It also saw a heavy celebrity turnout: Michael Stipe, Russell Simmons, Christy Turlington, Martha Stewart, Ed Burns, and Dennis Hopper all showed up to support hosts Damien Hirst and Bono. But oddly enough, the money and the star power didn't seem to be connected. Michael Stipe, for example, told us earlier in the week that he had his eye on an Ed Ruscha. But he told us last night he "didn't get a paddle." Even though it was Valentine's Day and he was there with his boyfriend! "We're not going to buy each other $5 million paintings, I'll tell you that!" Stipe said, limping away on his crutch, the result of a go-karting accident. Brian Williams also told us he "can't afford a single thing they're auctioning tonight." But he added, "if there's a collection bowl, I'm good for probably twenty bucks." Even Queen Noor of Jordan said she "couldn't even remotely dream about" buying one of the pricey Hirst pill cabinets on the block. So who's buying all this expensive art, if even movie stars and royalty can't afford it? (RED) campaign co-founder Bobby Shriver cleared that up. "Sotheby's and Gagosian are willing to stage this, with their lists, to their buyers," he explained. "Here, you have a commercial company promoting to their commercial buyers, which is a tremendous asset of theirs, selling products that they could have sold at their normal markup. That's a new platform for raising pro-social money." —Bennett MarcusSee and hear more from Bono, Queen Noor, Christy Turlington and others from last night's (RED) auction.
With pieces donated by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, and many more art heavyweights, the Sotheby's (AUCTION)Red at the auction house tonight is gearing up to be a collector's scrum. Christy Turlington, Dennis Hopper, and Mario Batali are all slated to attend, as is Michael Stipe, who already knows what he wants to buy. "I'll tell you, the Ed Ruscha is so beautiful" he gushed to New York's Fiona Byrne at Tuesday's Edun party at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea "I think it's a 2007, but it's brought what he does full circle, which is part of the reason I am drawn to it. I am tempted to bid; I may well." Elsewhere at the party, Josh Hartnett told us he's watching the pennies after a recent large purchase. "I have to find out if I have any money left," he said, not ruling out the prospect of picking something up from the auction, which will go to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. "I just bought a new place and totally redid it and put in new furniture, but I have to get something for the walls!" Last night at a Gagosian Gallery preview, celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Anna Wintour, Donna Karan, Tory Burch, Russell Simmons, and Ivanka Trump were more hushed about what they wanted. But we think we can guess which painting caught Rupert Murdoch's fancy. He spent the entire night standing in front of Damien Hirst's Where There's a Will, There's a Way. It's expected to fetch between $5 and $7 million tonight. Which, for Rupert, is probably a small price to pay for a piece of contemporary art that embodies your life philosophy.