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Society / Featured Parties

MTV Redefines Partying in Dallas

Touching George Michael Tribute Highlights Starry, Arty Night

BY // 03.28.17
photography Kristina Bowman, Sylvia Elzafon

A glittering coterie of celebs, artists, and socials poured into the Dallas Contemporary for MTV RE:DEFINE, the blockbuster bash held in collaboration with the  Goss-Michael Foundation and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. As is tradition, the exotic blend of contemporary art and musical showcase had guests arriving early and staying late — very late.

Event chair Max Trowbridge and hosts Joyce Goss and Kenny Goss ensured that this year’s sizzling soiree was one for the books as it raised more than $2.7 million, the hefty bottom line due in large part to the $580,000 that Damien Hirst’s Beautiful Beautiful George Michael Love Painting fetched in the live auction.

DC was filled to the brim with swoon worthy art, curated by tour de force Neville Wakefield. In all, 73 works of art from innovators such as Billy Childish, Francesco Clemente, and Marc Quinn were up for grabs in the live and silent auctions where patrons could bid through auction partner Paddle8.

The evening paid tribute to the late George Michael, and was especially touching as he was the former partner of Kenny Goss, co-founder of the Goss-Michael Foundation. “When Staying Alive was first set up as a campaign in 1998, I was hugely overexcited to work with George Michael on a documentary about young people affected by HIV around the world,” said Georgia Arnold, executive director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. “It’s true to say that it wouldn’t be what it is today without George’s support.”

The evening also honored artist Eric Fischl, who DC executive director Peter Doroshenko described as “the Bruce Springsteen of the art world. He is probably America’s premier figurative painter.” Designer Johnson Hartig of fashion house Libertine also stepped into the spotlight as an honoree.

After delighting in Italian fare from Headington Companies’ newest restaurant in the Dallas Design District, Sassetta, guests gathered for the live auction. Auctioneer Brook Hazelton used his gavel skills to promote the highest bids possible. The first lot featuring Tracey Emin’s Just Waiting For You, 2015, went for $26,000, and the paddles didn’t stop there. And then there was the six-figure sale of the Hirst painting. If that wasn’t enough to get you on your feet, cue in Chaka Khan, who brought her A-game, belting out some of her top hits including “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody,” which got the crowd on its feet and had everyone dancing until the diva left the stage.

Post-gala, revelers continued the party train in the next room where the official after party ensued. Chairs Krystal Schlegel and Tracey Diers as well as their host committee invited friends, filling up the place with pretty young things who came to play. While trendsetters including Mary Hafner and Amy Havins took snaps in the photo booth, others perused the works of art, champagne in one hand and late night bites from Wheelhouse in the other.

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