Heavyweights for Haiti


This week, David Zwirner opened its doors to preview “Artists for Haiti,” an upcoming benefit auction at Christie’s sponsored by the dealer and Ben Stiller. Zwirner came on board after visiting the disaster-stricken country almost a year ago. “I was reluctant at first, but once we hit the ground, I began to realize that quite a little can go a long way,” he says. Many of the works were made especially for the event, and the scene at Zwirner looks more like an exceptional evening sale. “It was really important to get artists all generations involved. It’s easy for us to call Luc Tuymans, but to show support across the art world, we needed figures like Chuck Close, Ed Ruscha, Jim Rosenquist, and Jasper Johns. Artists with decades of experience whose work gives us so much more weight,” said Zwirner.

Luc Tuymans created Dead-No Deal, featuring an isolated figure at a bar illuminated by an electronic gambling machine. With In You Can’t Make This Up, Cecily Brown ruminates over adversity and tragedy in flesh tones and violent strokes that symbolize torrents of water. Rosenquist, who donated a new painting, The Richest Person Gazing at the Universe Through a Hubcap, syas, “The dichotomy between poor people like those in Haiti and rich people who still have a compulsion to make more money has always been strange to me. In the end you can only do what you can do. I can’t give millions, but I can give an artwork. I felt a responsibility to do something.”

The auction takes place in Christie’s salesroom on Sept. 22 and, with hope, the works will find good homes for a good cause. With high hopes, Zwirner sighed. “It was a great partnership and we all worked extremely hard. I don’t think we want to do it again in three months, but our hope is that this event might foster further collaborations for relief efforts going forwards.”