Celebs Show Their Faces, But Not Their Paddles, at (Auction)REDLast 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 Marcus
See and hear more from Bono, Queen Noor, Christy Turlington and others from last night’s (RED) auction.
Celebrating ‘Lulu,’ Art World Wonders: Is Gagosian the Conniving Collector?Mega-gallerist Larry Gagosian was a notable no-show at the book party for Danielle Ganek’s art-world tell-all, Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, the other night at the Guggenheim. (Ganek, a former editor at Mademoiselle, is married to a Guggenheim trustee.) The room was full of collectors, and her book is poised to provide the gallery set with a good month or so of pin-the-name-on-the-character. There’s an icy auctioneer (Tobias Meyer of Sotheby’s? Simon de Pury of Phillips?), and one of the book’s wickedest caricatures is Martin Better, an avaricious collector who buys “art the way some people throw groceries into a cart” and cynically flips the novel’s titular masterpiece of a painting. Better’s likely inspiration, according to people in the room, was Gagosian. Remarkably, he blurbed the book. “She got it right,” the blurb reads, “And that’s saying something.” He would know. —Michael Idov