$26.2 Million Raised at Sotheby's to Fight Against AIDS in Africa
Saturday, 23 November at Sotheby's in New York, a standing-room only crowd helped raise more than $26 million for The Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. The star-studded audience gathered for the (RED) auction celebrating design and innovation, which had been curated by Sir Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson in collaboration with musician and activist Bono. The sale exceeded all expectations totaling more than $13 million, which was matched by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The high-energy salesroom saw a remarkable three lots bring more than $1.5 million, including the two items designed in their entirety by Jony and Marc - a unique Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera, which sold for $1.8 million, and a unique aluminum desk produced by Neal Feay Studio, which brought $1.7 million.
Throughout the evening, the crowd of more than 1,000 guests was treated to a number of spectacular surprises: before auctioneer Oliver Barker opened bidding on lot 12, the Steinway & Sons unique "Red Pops for (RED)" Parlor Grand Piano, Coldplay's Chris Martin took to the stage to sing "Perfect Day" and "Beautiful Day" with Bono. The performance inspired more than a dozen bidders to compete for the piano, which was sold for $1.9 million.
Later in the evening, lot 23, the Azzedine Alaïa pink couture long ruffle dress, was revealed in the salesroom worn by supermodel Christy Turlington before it sold to applause for $149,000. The final surprise of the evening came at the end of the auction when the Gretsch Electromatic "(RED) Generation" Bono "Signature" Guitar was added to the auction and sold for $250,000.
Bono said, "Jony and Marc are the Beatles and Stones of the design world. The collection they put together should've been in a museum but instead they sold it off to buy medicines for those who can't afford them but whose lives depend on them. The money raised is a lifeline, literally, for so many people, but nights like this also serve as a reminder of the historical opportunity we have to end AIDS. We are at a tipping point in the history of this tiny little virus that has wreaked so much havoc. We have to make sure the Global Fund has the money it needs or we could fail."
Sir Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, said, "It's not every day that you get to curate a collection with your best friend and sell it off to help a lot of people. It's been thrilling to contribute to the fight against AIDS in this way - by simply immersing ourselves in what we love: good design."
"The best and most successful design demonstrates humanity and a sense of care for others," said Marc Newson. "What could be more fitting than to have the opportunity to use the best of design to help continue the fight against AIDS. Thank you Bono, thank you (RED). It's been an honor and a thrill."
Two of the world’s foremost design pioneers, Sir Jonathan Ive, KBE, and Marc Newson, CBE, have collaborated with musician and philanthropist Bono to organize a (RED) Auction celebrating the very best of design and innovation. Jony and Marc have spent the past year and a half curating the collection, which comprises objects from disciplines as diverse as space travel and lighting design to contemporary art and rare automobiles, all unified and distinguished by their excellence and innovation. Proceeds from the 23 November 2013 sale at Sotheby’s New York will benefit The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Sir Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, said, “It's been a fantastic honor to curate this collection of objects with Marc for the auction at Sotheby's. Each piece represents the value of thoughtful design. What we create for each other is not only a comment on our culture but of course in many ways defines it. (RED) is making a difference in the lives of millions of people and we're humbled to make this contribution to such an important and worthy cause."
"It's been a thrilling journey for Jony and me to curate this collection of pieces that celebrate extraordinary design that we love, that transcends all boundaries of time and place. These objects were each conceived to resolve a singularly focused challenge, yet have subsequently achieved a cultural significance that's above and beyond their initial functionality. Each object and the process of creating it conveys a rich set of human values, so it seems fitting that they should be auctioned with a different sense of human value in mind, to raise as much as possible to help people's lives today," said Marc Newson. “We'd like to thank our partners for their sincere generosity and for giving so gladly and willingly.”
The auction will feature icons of design selected by Jony and Marc, works that were personally customised by the pair and, finally, two new and unique items created by Ive and Newson specifically for this special benefit event.
Leading the auction are the two items designed in their entirety by Jony and Marc – a unique Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera, which is, in and of itself, a feat of extraordinary engineering, and a unique aluminium desk produced by Neal Feay Studio. Joining these editions labeled 01/01 and specifically produced for the (RED) Auction are: a Steinway & Sons Parlor Grand Piano and a 2012 Range Rover, both customised by Jony and Marc; a unique version of Hermès’ iconic Cavale saddle created in red leather with custom red stitching; a one-of-a-kind pair of classic Apple EarPods in solid rose gold; a Russian cosmonaut suit; a pair of Damien Hirst ‘Spin Chairs’ designed by Jasper Morrison; a custom Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos “561” Clock with unique red accents created for the auction; and a Dom Pérignon Œnothèque 1966 Magnum with custom red foil label, red ice bucket cooler and limited edition protective case.
Bono said, “When you think of Jony and Marc, you think of design which is both iconic and sublime. Those two words can be applied to the unique collection of objects on the auction block this November. Each bang of that hammer will be raising critical dollars to fight AIDS… by getting medication to mothers with HIV which means they will not pass the virus on to their newborns.”
The more than 40 auction items have been captured by renowned photographer and filmmaker Andrew Zuckerman for a limited-edition auction catalogue designed by designer and illustrator Richard Allan. The publication features introductory essays by actor, poet and author Stephen Fry and Bono, as well as commentary from Jony and Marc.
The November 23 event follows the original (RED) auction held at Sotheby’s New York in February 2008, the most significant charity auction ever held, which raised over $40 million to fight AIDS in Africa. Organized by Bono and Damien Hirst, the auction included works donated by Banksy, Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn, Georg Baselitz and Howard Hodgkin, among others, and set records for 17 artists.