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The Open Road Aperture Foundation Benefit Party and Auction
A recap of our benefit party and auction, an evening of art and entertainment in tribute to Robert Frank
More than 800 guests attended The Open Road, Aperture Foundation’s Benefit Party, on Tuesday, October 21. The event, a tribute to Robert Frank, took its theme from the newly released Aperture book of the same title, in which David Campany chronicles the uniquely American tradition of photography about, or taken on, the road.
At Terminal 5, vintage neon signs for “No Vacancy” as well as “Cocktails,” stripped right from the road, decorated the hangar-like space, alongside gas pumps and a pick-up truck photo booth, designed by Merissa Lombardo Studios. In the downstairs space, the Artsy-powered silent auction was well underway at 6 p.m., with more than 50 lots on sale that took the open road as cue. From a 1970s Patti Smith on the Bowery by Godlis to a near-abstract image of birds in the sky by Richard Misrach, the small works, “Postcards from the Road,” expanded on the theme of travel; souvenir postcards by Instagram and Aperture were given to guests to trade throughout the night.
Photographers from Mary Ellen Mark to Paul Graham to Aperture magazine’s fall 2014 issue guest editors Inez & Vinoodh were in attendance to celebrate. Also among the crowd were photographers Justine Kurland, featured in The Open Road, Bruce Davidson, Bob Gruen, and Instagram influencer Olivia Bee. From the world of media, Aperture was joined by Kathy Ryan of the New York Times Magazine–her book Office Romance is published by Aperture this month.
Before the start of the evening’s program, a new programmatic alliance between Aperture Foundation and the Hermès Foundation was announced, to begin in 2015. The two will work together to commission, exhibit, publish, and promote the art and craft of contemporary French and American photography, said Aperture Executive Director Chris Boot. In attendance was Pierre-Alexis Dumas, President of the Hermès Foundation and Artistic Director of Hermès, who gave a speech focused on the context of the partnership.
To begin the Open Road program, Chris Boot made a celebratory toast to Leica’s 100th anniversary of its original model. Author David Campany then paid tribute to Robert Frank with a moving speech about the importance of Frank’s contribution to the history of photography. “When I look at those photographs, I can feel an artist trying to give his whole nervous system to what he’s trying to do, and who can ask for anything more than that,” he said. “In a world of false confidence, what I respond to is Robert’s skepticism and his open heartedness. ”
The program centered on a performance of words, photographs, and video from Alec Soth, Billy Bragg, Joe Purdy, and Isaac Gale, created for Aperture on a road trip down the Mississippi in August.
At the anticipated live auction, auctioneer August Uribe, worldwide co-head of contemporary art at Phillips, presided over the sale of 9 commissioned works by photographers, including Justine Kurland, Alex Prager, Todd Hido, and Joel Meyerowitz. Just before the bidding for the premier lot–a print by Robert Frank donated by the artist–the crowd went nearly silent; after rigorous bidding, the work fetched $95,000.
Once the sales had been set, The Kills took the stage, as guests sipped on Goose Island beer, Perrier, and Espolòn tequila cocktails, followed by a DJ set by AndrewAndrew.
The Open Road Aperture Foundation Benefit Party was made possible with the generous support of presenting sponsor Leica Camera AG. Additional support provided by: Turon Travel, Preferred Aperture Foundation travel agency.
Supporting Sponsor: Pinch Food Design
Associate Sponsor: Phillips
Friend Sponsors: Hahnemühle USA, Fotocare, LTI Lightside Photographic Services, Espolòn Tequila, Perrier, Goose Island Beer Company, Merissa Lombardo Studios, Wölffer Estate Vineyard,
Media Sponsor: Patrick McMullan Company
All photographs by Katie Booth, Max Campbell, and John Stillman © Aperture Foundation.