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.
God bless the Wall Street Journal. Right when we really need it, they've provided us with a guide to gift ideas for billionaires. We've been spending this whole time fretting about what to get Mayor Bloomberg! Now we know that maybe a submarine would be a good idea. Or a private orchestra concert. The problem is, not all of the Journal's ideas would work for Bloomberg. They suggest an image consultant or a philanthropic adviser, but clearly he doesn't need those. And a commissioned biography ("It's perfect for that someone who is no one but made a billion dollars selling his widget business") is out the window, too, because at some point we want him to pay us to ghostwrite that crap. But we could try to buy him the old Astor Beechwood estate in Newport. Or, you know, the 300-karat, $18 million diamond necklace that is selling at Sotheby's. But none of those really feel right. Gosh, what does Bloomberg need right now? What can we get our favorite mayor of Munchkinland?
Oh, right. A new Lexus.
Bloomberg's Car Stolen for Second Time [NYP]
The Wealth Report [WSJ]
Earlier:Old Astor Summer Manse on the Block for $16 Million
Rachel Roy is pregnant. Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford toasted new friend Carrie Underwood with Cristal at Southern Hospitality. Ew, they serve Cristal at that place? Katie Holmes took Suri to have frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3. 50 Cent and Lance Bass talked smack about each other's books. Anna Wintour skimped on the food (only cheese sticks and almonds!) at her Style.com party on Tuesday. Prince Albert showed up at the "Grace, Princess of Monaco" exhibit at Sotheby's.
Wait a sec turns out it wasn't a bearded guy who bought the Rothko yesterday at Sotheby's. Silly us for trusting the Times! Our compadre Vulture has the real deal: There were four bidders, and two of them were probably Russian. The winning bid came in over the phone. And the bearded guy? That was actually David Rockefeller Jr., who was watching the auction from a skybox.
Who Actually Bought the Rothko? (Hint: The ‘Times’ Was Wrong! [Vulture]
Further signs that the art market is officially nuts: Yesterday at Sotheby's, a Rothko got hauled away for nearly twice the estimate by our favorite kind of buyer the Bearded Mystery Collector. The sale price, $72.8 million, is the new world record for a piece of contemporary art. The painting is titled White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) and will look great over a $40 million dollar couch. The seller was David Rockefeller, MoMA's chairman emeritus, a fact which may actually signal that the market's about to turn: After all, if anyone would know when it's time to unload a Rothko, it would be Rockefeller. As usual, Sotheby's won't blab about the buyer's identity. We're voting a Russian dude (perhaps the same one who bought Picasso's Dora Maar au Chat for $95 million last May?), based on the combination of the beard and yesterday's sudden introduction of the ruble to the room's currency board. So the painting may be on its merry way to Mr. Marcus Rothkowitz's birthplace as we speak.
Rothko Breaks a Record for Contemporary Art [NYT]
The Hunt for the Red Collector [NYM]