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An Exclusive Tour of the (RED) Auction at Art Basel

An Exclusive Tour of the (RED) Auction at Art Basel

Ann Binlot

Sir David Adjaye and Theaster Gates walk through the works they curated for an auction that raised S10.5 million to fight AIDS Wednesday night.

Architect Sir David Adjaye and artist Theaster Gates hail from vastly different parts of the globe-Tanzania and Chicago, respectively-but their homes are united by one specific crisis: AIDS. Sixty-six percent of new HIV infections happen in sub-Saharan Africa, while in Chicago, more than fifty percent of people living with HIV are black.

So when the architect and the artist joined forces at Art Basel this week, it was for a cause. The two curated the third-annual (RED) Auction, which supports the organization co-founded by Bono in its fight against AIDS. The event was held in Miami's Design District on December 5 in conjunction with Gagosian and Sotheby's at the Moore Building, made possible by Craig Robins. Both Adjaye and Gates have personal connections to the disease; Adjaye has friends who have passed away from it.

"The connection that I feel is that there are moments where the lack of equity, and the resources that are available for people who live with the disease, live with the virus-that's the part that I'm super-invested in," Gates said in a conversation before the auction. "Like how do we create longer lives for more people? And especially people of color, which the virus seems to be affecting the most."

Adjaye added, "We've been spending much more time in Africa working on the continent, andjust hearing the stats about women, and mothers - the uptake of the AIDS virus amongst mothers on the continent is really disturbing to me, and the idea of being able to get these drugs, to be able to get them to these communities, it's kind of also one of the reasons why I got involved. It's like, 0.l(, we gotta bring some awareness to this issue."

The pair curated the items in the auction, which will be exhibited in the Moore Building through December 7. They came up with the theme "Red and  Light" before reaching out to both their and (RED)'s vast all-star network of artists, architects, and designers, who include Ebony G. Patterson, the Zaha Iladid Foundation, Jenny Saville, Marilyn Minter, James Casebere, Christian Louboutin, Jeff Koons, and more.

"When David and I were talking, we were just thinking-what are things that connect our hvo vocations?" Gates said. "And light was something that would offer us a broader spectrum of the kinds of artists who could participate on the project."

"Also, it felt like light would be a way of re-shedding light on the subject matter that everyone thinks is sort of solved,» Adj aye added. "It seemed like a  really great way to put the spotlight back on this subject matter, to say it's not gone away, we have to deal ,vith it, and that felt like a nice underlying message."

The live auction raised $10.5 million on Wednesday night, but those who didn't have a chance to attend the event can still bid on the (RED) Online auction through December 7 at 4 P .M. Eastern. Below, a look at some of the auction's highlights, with commentary from Gates, Adjaye, and Sotheby's auctioneer Oliver Barker.

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