Bono in Miami Beach Gets Gates Foundation's Help for AIDS Fight

(Bloomberg) -- Bono’s charity organization (RED) got a big assist from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the fight against AIDS as they raised $10.5 million during a special auction at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Bono in Miami Beach Gets Gates Foundation's Help for AIDS Fight

The U2 lead singer and activist joined forces Wednesday night with Sotheby’s and Gagosian Gallery to conduct the event during the largest modern and contemporary art fair in the U.S. The live sale, centered on the theme of light and the color red, reaped $5.53 million, with the Gates foundation providing matching funds that almost doubled the total. An online auction continues through Friday.

AIDS is not a cause -- “it’s an emergency,” Bono said before the auction, which included artworks by Ai Weiwei, Jenny Saville and Jeff Koons.

“A Flag for the Least of Them” by Theaster Gates fetched $807,000, the evening’s highest-priced item and an auction record for the Chicago-based artist. A nude by Saville, who holds the auction record for a living female artist, sold for $735,000.

Bono in Miami Beach Gets Gates Foundation's Help for AIDS Fight

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, who sat in the front row, competed for a painting by Hank Willis Thomas, which spelled “JET People" in white on black, but was outbid by a telephone client of a Sotheby’s representative. The work ended up selling for $75,000, an auction record for the artist. Prices include a buyer’s premium charged by Sotheby’s.

Theaster Gates, who co-curated the auction along with architect David Adjaye, won a painting “...bearing witness...” by Jamaican artist Ebony G. Patterson for $72,500.

Real estate developer Craig Robins snagged a pair of embroidered red Christian Louboutin sneakers made specifically for the auction for $11,250, almost tripling the high estimate.

Proceeds from the evening will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS to provide HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa, and to support the Rebuild Foundation, a Chicago-based organization championed by Theaster Gates. (RED) has generated more than $600 million for the Global Fund.

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