Buy What You Love
For some, the contemporary art world is just another outlet for the Cult of Celebrity. While collectors like Larry Gagosian are busy inflating costs and corrupting artists, others still hold that art should be about so much more than the bottom line.
But what happens when that is exactly what you need art to be about? The Rema Hort Mann Foundation might just have an answer.
Created in 1995, RHMF supports cancer patients and advocates for emerging artists, both passions of the late Rema Hort Mann for which the foundation is named. RHMF awards grants to individuals and has partnerships with numerous New York City and New Jersey-based hospitals. RHMF also supports artists who are out of school and without a solo exhibition at a commercial gallery. Previous artist recipients include Keltie Ferris, K8 Hardy, Adam Helms, Rashaad Newsome, Kehinde Wiley and Michele Abeles.
Despite these diverse causes, in 2010 they gave out over $80,000 in grants.
One of their most popular benefits is the annual “Buy What You Love” fundraiser. As the foundation’s director, Quang Bao, explains, “so much of the art world turns on the reputation of an artist or gallery and what is said or written. Buy What You Love asks the viewer to revert back to the pure idea of seeing something beautiful and wanting it.”
But this is no usual silent auction. Buy What You Love, brings together emerging artisted and established patrons, but the artists of each piece are kept hidden throughout the event. Only after it has finished are the artists revealed. In an extra twist, the auction prices start at a high number and decrease as the evening goes on. They encourage patrons to bid purely on the aesthetics and emotional pull. Buy what you love, or risk losing it later to a smaller bid. A concept the foundation’s founders Susan and Michael Hort have built their own extensive collection around.
Their latest event, held last week, included commissioned artworks from over 200 U.S. and international artists, including 65 emerging artists newly included in the private art collection of Susan and Michael Hort. The auction was hosted by Marian Boesky Gallery in New York.