Two artistes whose work I'm not sure about have teamed up to raise money for HIV/AIDS medicine for africa. Together they invited top artists to donate work for a Valentine's Day auction. I've seen reports that they will raise between 25-40 million US dollars in the auction.
Sotheby's will be auctioning the works. It is themed [RED], tying into the campaign that has co-opted marketers like The Gap to donate a percentage of their profits to African Charitable causes.
Hirst has made some work for sale (and in a cool twist has co-opted Banksy to make a double entendre. Georg Baselitz is there. As are Antony Gormley, Subodh Gupta, Anish Kapoor and art rockstar Jeff Koons. The cash goes to the United Nations Foundation to support HIV/AIDS relief programmes in Africa.
Hirst, whose career was propelled by the patronage of Charles Saatchi once said:
"I remember when I couldn't give my art away, it wasn't long ago either," Hirst said in a statement.
Personally I can understand that. I can also see the value of celebrity. Not that sure I like U2 either. But I admire two geniuses of self promotion turning their attention to things that matter.
Hirst also said:
"For a relatively small amount of effort on each artist's part we can actually save many lives," Hirst continued. "It's great to be able to give something back and make a difference."
Which is a point well made.