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Friends In Deed - Friday, 3/28/2014 4:13 PM

A decorous evening of art and auction brought out many key voices, and paddles, to downtown’s Dream Hotel for Friends In Deed – Photographers for Friends 2014 Benefit and Auction, where several of today’s most influential photographers donated works for the charity auction. Hosted by co-chair Andy Cohen (Anderson Cooper being unable to attend), the auction managed to raise over $125K in proceeds for Cynthia O’Neal’s and Mike Nichols’ co-founded charity, Friends In Deed.

The photographs, ranging in all forms, from abstract and conceptual to still and portraiture, scenic and cultural, were beautifully exhibited in a collective harmony; allowing each its own respective frame of focus to appreciate and appraise. Some early favorites in the bidding were works by Stewart Shining, Brett Weston, Ed Ruscha and David Croland. At least that was until Mr. Cohen, upon entry, made evident his fancy for Flag by Jack Pierson, creating something of a silent bidding bout on the piece.

Photographers present and presented included Patrick Cashin, Carlos Arias, Andrea Blanch, Gene Debartolo, David Croland, Rose Hartman, Pat Kurs, Edward Mapplethorpe, Maripol, Matthew Pillsbury, Billy Sullivan, Coke Wisdom O’Neal, Eric Rhein, and our own Patrick McMullan donating his famous Area era photograph of Andy Warhol flanked by artists Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring.

Fashion giant Jill Stuart, a McMullan favorite whom he praised for, “always having the most beautiful girls at all her shows,” arrived early, offering support for both the charity and her fellow fashion icons’ work on the wall, namely Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Inez & Vinoodh, Annie Leibovitz and Terry Richardson. Others among the art and artists included Law & Order actor Raul Esparza, Betty Beauty owner Nancy Jarecki, and prominent society sartorialist Sandra Long.

The evening concluded with an animated live auction by Alexander Gilkes, giving comedically candid critiques of the five artists. Works presented for bidding were by Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Billy Sullivan, Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe – whose alone sold for just over $10K!

Founded in 1991, Friends In Deed is a support focused charity offering those diagnosed with life-threatening or terminal illness the emotional and spiritual support that hospitals today struggle to give. If you would like to find out more, or donate, please check out the website –