We called it “great art for great science,” but the Child Mind Institute’s benefit auction at Sotheby’s last week also turned out to be about great friends. Peter Brant and Stephanie Seymour Brant curated a group of 22 stellar pieces, and the crowd bid so enthusiastically that the evening succeeded in raising more than $2 million for the search for better understanding, and treatment, of childhood psychiatric and learning disorders.
Joining the Brants as hosts were Daniel and Brooke Garber Neidich, and guests included Larry Gagosian, John McEnroe, Aby Rosen, Ron Delsener, Dori Cooperman, Vito Schnabel, and Jessica Hart. Artists who donated works included Jeff Koons, Elizabeth Peyton, Enoc Perez, John Currin, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, and Patrick Demarchelier.
Encouraged (to say the least) by auctioneer Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s worldwide head of contemporary art, bidders blew by the $95,000 estimate on Nate Lowman’s “Fleshtone,” which finally sold for $235,000. And the evening’s top bid went to Urs Fischer’s “Paranoia/Squirrel,” which hit $360,000. (By the way, if you missed the Fischer show at the New Museum a couple of years ago, you might have seen the giant yellow teddy bear with reading lamp that was installed outside the Seagram Building for several months.) Other standouts that sailed by their estimates were a Richard Prince triptych that drew $175,000 and a Dan Colen that drew $145,000.
Many thanks to the Brants and Sotheby’s, all the terrific artists who donated work, and all the collectors who participated so generously. It was a huge success for the science of brain development, and the kids in the future who will benefit from it.