Alexander Gilkes
Alexander Gilkes


Gabriela Hersham
Gabriela Hersham

Last Wednesday, March 2, Meatpacking events space MILK Gallery was the site of a benefit auction hosted by Young Afikim, an “areligious, apolitical” charity dedicated to the education and care of young Israeli children, both Jewish and Palestinian. Organization Chair Gabriela Hersham, who heads the New York team, pulled off a successful event that had guests dancing and tippling late into the night, and bidders furiously competing to snap up any of the over fifty donated artworks on view in the lofty space adjacent to Phillips de Pury & Company’s downtown location.

The evening began with a silent auction that featured forty-nine works by artists such as Maxi Cohen and Jamie Diamond: photographs, paintings, and works on paper. While the aesthetics varied, the included artists generally shared an affinity for or ties to Israel, a fitting characteristic that lent the exhibited works a sense of cohesion. XXXX Magazine’s contributing director Jordan Doner donated his own work to the auction: Violence is a Sexual Preference, a sizable digital C-print that acts like a photographic essay, presenting a mysterious and engaging visual narrative with still from his Peeping Tom video in the Voyeur Issue. The well-heeled young guests socialized and bid during the first half of the night, milling around the open space, admiring the work, as well as each other. Champagne, amuse-bouches, and other refreshments flowed freely. This and a chic live soundtrack by DJ NVM contributed to the revelry.

The live auction, headed once again by the dashing Alexander Gilkes, was expertly scheduled not to begin until 10pm, which resulted in the energetic tension in the room as the guests anxiously awaited the main event. After a few words by Ms. Hersham, Mr. Gilkes took the stage, and a sizable crowd formed around the podium as the seasoned auctioneer immediately commandeered the room’s attention. Within moments, the first lot, Michael Dweck’s 2007 photograph Mermaid 38 sold; the three other live auction lots sold as quickly. The combination of the crowd’s enthusiasm and Mr. Gilkes’ performative expertise resulted in major success for Young Afikim, as all the live auction works flew into bidder’s hands, and the majority of the silent ones did, too. The evening was a success indeed, for bystanders as well as collectors, with the ultimate benefit bestowed upon Young Afikim and its good deeds abroad.

Article by Aniko Berman for XXXX Magazine

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