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Society / Featured Parties

MTV’s $2.2 Million Night Redefines Wild Rock ‘n’ Roll Partying in Dallas

Surprisingly Emotional Art Star Drives the Real Message Home

BY // 06.29.18
photography Bruno and Irwin Thompson

MTV Re:Define, the annual benefit for Dallas Contemporary and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, has a reputation for wild, over-the-top rock ’n’ roll glamour. This year, everything took on a more-is-more mentality, starting with the location.

The CenterPark Garden at NorthPark Center was transformed by event designer Julian Leaver. A massive translucent tent was outfitted with two stages and several huge television screens — the latter, a clever nod to MTV’s roots. But rather than music videos, a film salute to honored artist Tracey Emin and the evening’s live-auction items ran on a continuous loop.

The tent was also perfect for viewing artist Leo Villareal’s kaleidoscopic LED work Buckyball, 2015, a special commission by NorthPark Center installed on the lawn outside. Of course, Emin herself was a key point of excitement, with guests clamoring for the chance to chat with the artist, whose esoteric, provocative works in neon are legendary.

Emin received her award from MTV Re:Define co-hosts Kenny Goss and his sister-in-law Joyce Goss, the duo behind The Goss-Michael Foundation.

“I adore her. I want to marry her … She said no,” Kenny joked, before welcoming his longtime friend to the stage. A surprisingly emotional Emin took the microphone.

“This came as a big surprise,” the artist said. “And I feel a bit pathetic, because I’ve started crying.” Emin recalled the last time she was in Dallas, a visit 11 years ago to see Kenny and his then partner, the late pop star George Michael.

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It was “the Lost Weekend with George and Kenny,” she said. “From what I’ve been told, we had a great time.”

All joking aside, this night was about raising money. Chairs Max Trowbridge and Brooke Davenport rallied their best bunch of art-collecting friends, who raised their paddles in a major way. Auctioneer Simon de Pury sold a work by Marc Quinn for $220,000, and another by Kenny Scharf for $70,000. One of Emin’s iconic neon works, along with three gouaches from her personal collection, fetched $220,000.

Post auction, there was a surprise performance by singer-songwriter Arlissa, then an after-party that kept things going late into the night. The best news, however, came a few days later, with word that $2.2 million had been raised.

Seen: VIPs including Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, Peter Doroshenko, Georgia Arnold, Heidi and Bill Dillon, Moll and Charlie Anderson, Waldo Fernandez, Eugenio Lopez, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Kelli and Allen Questrom, and internationally renowned artists Ian Davenport, Samantha McCurdy, Thomas Canto, Harvey B. Brown, David Scheinmann, and Sara Rahbar.

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