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Touching George Michael Stories Shared at Powerful MTV Preview

The Art of Music Grips New York — and Texas is Next

BY // 03.15.17

At first glance, all I could see were bold purple and orange hues glowing from a white gallery wall of Great Jones Studio in Manhattan. As I gazed closer, the glow took shape and the mesmerizing face of a woman emerged between the linear effects of color: This was none other than the oil-on-linen masterpiece, Anthropocene III, 2016 by artist Richard Phillips.

The work was a powerful welcome for guests, who had just entered the white-box art space for the inaugural MTV Re:Define preview reception in New York. What followed was an ’80s scene, with tunes such as “Don’t Go” by Yazoo and dance-pop tracks by Wham, all spun by DJ Paul Sevigny.

I attended the art preview, which was in partnership with auction house Paddle8, with Joyce Goss, executive director of The Goss-Michael Foundation (which was founded by Kenny Goss and the late George Michael), and with the Dallas Contemporary’s executive director Peter Doroshenko. Joyce and Kenny annually host MTV Re:Define in Dallas; and I am proudly its chair this year.

We were there, of course, to get a sneak peek at the art that will go for auction at MTV Re:Define at the Dallas Contemporary on March 24. An added bonus? Much of the work was created by the evening’s hosts, artists Richard Phillips, Enoc Perez, Wendy White, Blair Thurman, and Jay Miriam.

Midway through the reception, John Levene, a board member of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, and Doroshenko spoke in gratitude to the artists, whose work is auctioned to benefit both the Dallas Contemporary and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. Young British Artist star Tracey Emin sent a personal video, which was projected on a wall alongside the art. Emin highlighted private memories she shared with George Michael and Kenny Goss, and how she created her neon George Loves Kenny to symbolize their love.

The New York Host committee included Ellie Rines, Arden Wohl, Andee Friedrich, and Nicole Nadeau. Other bold-faced names in attendance included MTV Re:Define curator Neville Wakefield, Anne Vincent, Gabrielle de Papp, Michael Avedon, Rachel Libeskind, Cory Kennedy, and more.

Upon departure, guests left with an Aesop bag of goodies and a Paddle8 magic eight ball. Maybe that trusty toy will provide some insight as to who will be taking the Richard Phillips piece home with them next week.

Home, chic home.

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