VOGUE – Art as medicine: The Twelfth Annual RxArt Party

Vogue — November 13, 2012

Last night at the Twelfth Annual RxArt Party at Milk Studios, new works by some of New York’s stellar artists—from Will Cotton to Rita Ackermann and the night’s honoree, Dan Colen—were auctioned off for RxArt, which places fine art in health-care facilities to foster healing. Colen, whom the auctioneer introduced as “the man who made precious bubble gum and bird s**t,” is gearing up to create a mural in the pediatric outpatient unit at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. “I am so attracted to the idea of making something specifically for young kids,” Colen said, “I think that they’re the first who should be healed.” Guests arrived at the benefit, which was sponsored by Kiehl’s, Patron, and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, and began to consider works for silent auction, with starting numbers, as Vogue Style Editor at Large Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis put it, “far lower than what one would pay at Gagosian.” Fivestory New York boutique owner Claire Distenfeld, in striped Carven pants, had her eye on a large piece by Matt Chambers; its geometric print in pink, black, and white looked like silk-screened tiles. “It’s talking to me,” Distenfeld said, “And the bottom of it does look like the floor of my store.”

Jen Brill, Michelle Harper, Alexandra Richards, Georgia Ford, and Johan Lindberg were among those milling and bidding, as Kilo Kish gave a surprise performance to the delight of the crowd. Many stopped before Will Cotton’s stone lithography Cotton Candy Hannah portrait, in which a woman’s crown was topped with a frosted confection. Inspiration, perhaps, for a Thanksgiving fashion statement, or wishful thinking for a similar piece to materialize at Maison Michel. Catacorner was Rita Ackermann’s fervid orange painting Fire by Days, and across the gallery Leigh Lezark and Harley Viera-Newton observed an Aurel Schmidt drawing of writhing maggots among hair ties and flies.

Model Arizona Muse had her eye on a photograph by Max Snow of a woman in an intricate feather headdress. “Being from the Southwest I am all about that,” she said, though installing a new piece would prove tricky as she was off to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Being around so much art elicited excited talk of the upcoming Art Basel fair. But moved by a cause more vital than beauty or beaches, patrons quickly filled the room when the live bidding began.

Content | Menu | Access panel