RED Auction for AIDS Raises $40 Million

Contemporary art has showed that it has a heart by raising more than $40 million to help fight AIDS in Africa. Bono, Damien Hirst, Sotheby’s, and Gagosian Gallery organized the (RED) auction on Valentine’s day, where leading contemporary artists from around the world donated major works to auction for the cause.

Damien Hirst and Banksy Painting

Bono of U2 got the bidders in the mood with an a capella version of “All You Need is Love” to open the auction. The auction room was filled with a bunch of celebrities that included John McEnroe, Takashi Murakami, Martha Stewart, Queen Noor, Dennis Hopper, Michael Stipe, Helena Christensen, Liya Kebede, Russell Simmons, Brian Williams, Ziyi Zhang, and Christy Turlington.

Damien Hirst can now add the title of “philanthropist” to his resume as he gave seven works that made almost $20 million for the auction. He was also influential in getting so many notable artists to contribute major works to the show. The experience seems to have touched the artist as he says he won’t be cynical for a while..

“It’s an amazing result, it’s not sunk in yet but it just shows you what you can do if you put your mind to it. I’m never going to be cynical ever again for a while. A big thank you and a million out of ten for all the artists who gave something. We’ve helped to change the world a little bit.” Damien Hirst

The image in this post is a defaced Damien Hirst spot painting by Banksy called “Keep it Spotless”. It’s probably one of the better artist collaborations that I have seen. Big egos usually get in the way when two established artists lock horns to collaborate on a painting. The work sold for $1,870,000 USD which would make it an auction record for Banksy, but having the Hirst signature stamped on it would have been a BIG influence on the final price.

Here’s a list of contemporary artists that gave work for the (RED) auction..

Albert Oehlen (1)
Andreas Gursky (1)
Angus Fairhurst (1)
Anish Kapoor (1)
Anselm Kiefer (1)
Antony Gormley (1)
Ashley Bickerton (1)
Banksy (2)
Banksy (defaced Hirst) (1)
Bernar Venet (1)
Bill Viola (1)
Carsten Höller (1)
Cecily Brown (2)
Chéri Samba (1)
Christo (1)
Chuck Close (2)
Damien Hirst (7)
David Bailey (1)
Douglas Gordon (1)
Ed Ruscha (1)
Elizabeth Peyton (1)
Francesco Clemente (1)
Fred Tomaselli (1)
Gabriel Orozco (1)
Gary Hume (1)
Gelitin (1)
Georg Baselitz (1)
Georges Lilanga di Nayama (1)
Ghada Amer (1)
Gregory Crewdson (1)
Guillermo Kuitca (1)
Haim Steinbach (1)
Hiroshi Sugimoto (1)
Howard Hodgkin (1)
Jake & Dinos Chapman (1)
Jasper Johns (1)
Jeff Koons (1)
Jenny Holzer (1)
Jim Lambie (1)
John Currin (1)
Julian Schnabel (1)
Keith Tyson (1)
Malick Sidibe (1)
Marc Newson (1)
Marc Quinn (2)
Matthew Barney (1)
Michael Craig-Martin (1)
Michael Joo (2)
Nigel Cooke (1)
Paul & Damon McCarthy (1)
Rachel Howard (1)
Rachel Whiteread (1)
Raymond Pettibon (1)
Richard Prince (1)
Robert Rauschenberg (3)
Sam Taylor-Wood (1)
Sarah Lucas (1)
Sean Scully (1)
Seydou Keîta (1)
Sir Peter Blake, R.A. (1)
Subodh Gupta (1)
Tadao Ando (1)
Takashi Murakami (1)
Thomas Demand (1)
Tim Noble & Sue Webster (1)
Tom Friedman (1)
Tracey Emin (1)
Willem de Kooning (2)
Yinka Shonibare MBE (1)

See The Global Fund, Join (RED), Sotheby’s, and Gagosian websites for more on the RED conteomporary art auction.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. As you mentioned Banksy, he’s got an exhibition coming up at a commercial gallery in London:

    No prices listed on the artwork on the site though..

    The Guardian has an article on the exhibition too:,,2258101,00.html

    Along with a link about graffiti in Melbourne:,,1738453,00.html

    I didn’t see much graffiti in Melbourne when I was there for a few days, perhaps it has all been cleaned off.

  2. I may regard Moneynags Hirst as a dead loss artistically, but he regularly donates his work to good causes. Last year he donated work to a charity auction to help the Whitechapel Art Gallery build a new something-or-other. (It gave him his first exhibition, I believe, before he was famous.) And he contributes an annual post card to the RAs secret post card sale for charity:

    By the way, did you know you’ve broken throught the Great Firewall of China?
    Enter Art News Blog in the Chinese version of Google:
    and click Chinese “enter”.

    The Chinese version is better than yours, because it has black ink on white paper, not sky blue on white.

    Coxsoft Art News got a mention, thanks to you, but that’s as close as I’ve got to breaking through. Dunno why. I think China is wonderful. Its population controls are doing more to save the planet than anything the decadent West is doing.

  3. Thanks for sharing Helly. I have only been to Melbourne once, which was quite a few years ago, and I can’t recall seeing much grafitti either.

    Ian, I couldnt find Art News Blog on Baidu. Perhaps I did something wrong. I don’t recall seeing any visitors from, so I’m not too worried about it. I probably would be a little concerned if I wrote the blog in Chinese, but I just eat Chinese, not speak

    Also, I wish I could fix that sky blue on white issue. No one has ever mentioned it other than you, which probably just means they see it and leave! Is it an old internet browser that you use?


  4. I’m glad to see Hirst getting postive press in the art community. Sure lots of aspiring artists (and successful ones) have a passionate hatred for Hirst, they claim that Hirst is talentless, money lurring… I say, get over it. He’s successful and has made a conscious effort to try and use some of his influence for good. If you don’t like his artwork then fine, but at least recognize his generosity.


  1. [...] RED Auction Raises $40 Million – Damien Hirst learns that it’s good to give. [...]

  2. [...] a Hirst work sold for their cause, with each of the works estimated to reach £400,000-600,000. The very successful RED auction that Hirst and Bono (U2) organized earlier this year has made a philanthropist out of the wealthy [...]

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