KAWS for a Cause
RxArt's Downtown Crew Celebrates Ten Years of Bringing Contemporary Art to Hospitals
A handful of New York's coolest artists were doing something cooler than usual last night—supporting RxArt, a nonprofit devoted to livening up children's hospitals. It was the kind of evening that had Nate Lowman on DJ duty and KAWS (a.k.a. Brian Donnelly) watching one of his own über-hip art toys spur a heated silent auction.
Will Cotton was keeping a safe distance between himself and the lithograph he'd donated to the cause. "The having-my-own-art-auction thing always makes me nervous," he confessed. Cotton's hospital spruce-up is in Memphis; the organization unveiled a cheery Jeff Koons installation in Chicago this summer, and has a Chris Johanson project in the works there that is slated to open in early 2011.
Ryan McGinley was circulating inside the Art Directors Club in a dapper Calvin Klein suit. Aaron Young and Terry Richardson hadn't made quite the same effort, nor had the evening's late-arriving host, James Franco—but it's hard to blame a guy who made the trip all the way down from Yale.
Just last Friday, McGinley hung a dozen photographs from his Olympics series in the children's psychiatric ward of a Brooklyn hospital. "It's all people underwater, flying through the air, because I thought that would get the kids most inspired," he reported. "Hospitals are the scariest and most sterile environments, so if you can have something really beautiful to look at, even if it's just for a few seconds, I think it's served its purpose."