How to Shop Ben Stiller's Haiti Auction

© 2011 Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; courtesy of David Zwirner, New York

To raise funds for Haiti, the actor has organized
a blockbuster sale of some of the most coveted contemporary artworks to ever
hit the auction block.

Can Ben Stiller raise millions of dollars in one night for the ongoing Haiti earthquake relief effort? He seems to think so.

On September 22, the actor, along with veteran New York art dealer David Zwirner will host “Artists for Haiti,” a star-studded Christie’s sale of 26 coveted contemporary pieces of art. Works by such artists as Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Chuck Close, Cecily Brown, Paul McCarthy, Cindy Sherman and more are estimated to sell for anywhere from $200,000 to upward of $1.5 million each. All proceeds will benefit Haiti-specific nonprofits, including Stiller’s own.

Stiller and Zwirner, who met through their mutual friend, comedian turned banjo player turned art aficionado Steve Martin, visited Port-au-Prince together earlier this year, and have since secured auction donations from some of the biggest names in the field. “Artists are probably some of the most generous people on the planet, and when you ask them to be generous for a cause, most of them have a hard time saying no,” says Amy Cappellazzo, chairwoman of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Department at Christie’s New York, which is where the sale will take place.

But this time, the artists went above and beyond. “Normally when I handle a charity sale, I treat it somewhat differently than I do a typical major auction,” says Cappellazzo. “But this is a typical major auction. It presents major opportunities for collectors, and we expect to set several records for some of the younger artists included. These aren’t just tokens—so many of these works are among the artists’ most outstanding examples.”

For those shopping the auction, Departures curated a selection of some of the most striking works. All pieces will be on view at Christie’s from September 17–20 in advance of the auction. Bidders, get your paddles ready.