2009 May 12

Art Stars

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Francisco Costa and Kevin Bacon Francisco Costa and Kevin Bacon
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(NEW YORK) Amy Sacco has plenty of experience presiding over rowdy crowds, but at last night's 10th Annual Free Arts NYC art and photography auction, even the nightlife impressario had her hands full. The party, sponsored by Calvin Klein Collection and held in a street-level gallery at the brand's HQ on West 39th Street, felt more like a rock-and-roll gallery opening than anything else. "Just give me the gavel," she instructed auctioneer Simon de Pury at one point, bidding on (and occasionally winning) a few lots herself while allowing other generous types (taking advantage of current market conditions) to score stunning works by the likes of Tom Sachs, Barbara Kruger and James Nares.

Longtime Free Arts NYC supporters Sacco and Mary Alice Stephenson joined Italo Zucchelli and Francisco Costa to draw a gorgeous crowd--including the evening's offical co-hosts Michelle Monaghan and Kevin Bacon. Yvonne Force Villareal, Hilary Rhoda, Kevin Carrigan, Glenda Bailey and even an incognito Ed Westwick enjoyed passed hors d'oeurves and tunes from DJ Donna D'Cruz while putting down a few bids on silent-auction works. ""I just bid on a Kiki Smith!" exclaimed Molly Sims. "I really hope I win--I guess I should go back and check."

"Right now, I feel a little bit like mama," said Stephenson, wrangling friends like Lindsay Price into a seperate room for the live auction. "We've always been huge supporters of Free Arts, but this season we're working with Esquire and Harper's Bazaar on this project for the first time. Teaching kids how to make and love art hits us all very close to home."

"I just met Francisco and I'm told I'm going to be in love with him forever!" said Monahan, twirling in her gilded Calvin Klein Collection confection. "I didn't know much about art growing up--I came from a small country town of about 700 people, but I went to college right across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago. I went in one day during a break and I thought, 'Now I know what all the fuss is about!' Last year I bought something I absolutely loved, so we'll see what I can find here tonight. I need to put my name down!"

As the silent auction continued to draw bids, the live portion commenced. Karolina Kurvoka was one of the evening's most enthusiastic bidders, narrowly losing out a portfolio of 8 works by Christopher Wool to an eager gent who walked away with the art for approximately $18,000. But when it came time to bid on a cash donation, Kurkova's hand was the first one up. "Yes, times are tough," conceded Sims, as the event went on to raise over $500,000 through the sales of over 100 works. "But tonight, there are a lot of reasons to spend money."

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