Sotheby's Results - The (RED) Auction - Valentine's Day, February 14, 2008 Tonight, on the evening of Valentine’s Day, over $40 million was raised to fight AIDS in Africa in an historic auction -- the most significant charity auction of Contemporary Art ever.
News-Antique.com - Feb 15,2008 - New York, February 14th, 2008 – Tonight, on the evening of Valentine’s Day, over $40 million was
raised to fight AIDS in Africa in an historic auction -- the most significant charity auction of
Contemporary Art ever -- organized by Bono, Damien Hirst, Sotheby’s, Gagosian Gallery and dozens
of donating artists in the (RED) Auction. The proceeds will go the United Nations Foundation to
support HIV/AIDS relief programs in Africa conducted by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis
and Malaria. Bono opened the auction with an a capella rendition of “All You Need Is Love” before a
star-studded crowd, including Queen Noor, John McEnroe, Takashi Murakami, Martha Stewart, Dennis
Hopper, Michael Stipe, Helena Christensen, Liya Kebede, Russell Simmons, Brian Williams, Ziyi Zhang,
Ed Burns and Christy Turlington, who purchased Francesco Clemente’s Red Flower on Scorched
Earth for $170,500 (lot 61, est. $50/70,000*). The auction achieved $42.58 million, far beyond its
high estimate (est. $21/29 million), and records were set for seventeen artists, including Marc Quinn,
Banksy, Howard Hodgkin, Keith Tyson and Bernar Venet. Among the many highlights of the evening
was Damien Hirst’s Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way, a pill cabinet which is filled with HIV
antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV, which sold for $7,150,000 (lot 54, est. $5/7 million).
The sale had been preceded by a preview exhibition of the works at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea.
Damien Hirst contacted dozens of the world’s leading artists to ask them to contribute works for the
auction inspired by the colour red and the concept of love. Their response was exceptional, with
offers of major works Matthew Barney, Georg Baselitz, Cecily Brown, Douglas Gordon, Antony
Gormley, Subodh Gupta, Andreas Gursky, Sir Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume, Jasper Johns, Anish
Kapoor, Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Marc Newson, Tim Noble & Sue Webster,
Richard Prince, Marc Quinn, Ed Ruscha, Yinka Shonibare, Sam Taylor-Wood, Keith Tyson and Bernar
Venet, among others.
Damien Hirst himself contributed seven works to the auction, which together made a spectacular total
of $19,085,000. In addition to There’s A Will, There’s A Way, the highlights were a red rectangular
butterfly painting entitled Love You, which sold for $3,300,000 (lot 53, est. $1/1.5 million) and a red
heart-shaped butterfly painting entitled All You Need is Love, which brought $2,420,000 (lot 16, est.
"This is incredible! Art and love, sex and money came together tonight to make this Valentine's Day
one that we at (RED) will never forget,” said Bono. “Because tonight we got serious about love, and
not just the love of art, but the love of our brothers and sisters suffering from AIDS in the poorest
places on the planet. What's the price of saving a life? Forty cents a day can buy the two little pills
that keep people with HIV/AIDS alive. So you do the math ... A $100,000 sculpture... a $1.5 million
painting... that's a lot of medicine for a lot of people in Africa who can't afford the drugs