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Drawing on Artists for AIDS Benefit

Disney’s Michael and Jane Eisner kicked it off. A dozen important Hollywood types have signed on. So have dozens of well-known artists. A cabal of major collectors is vowing to help raise well over $1 million through art sold. And it will wind up early next year with a lavish black-tie dinner--and that will hopefully raise another $1 million.

The project is National Art Against AIDS Los Angeles. At the kick-off Wednesday night at the Disney Studios, Eisner stressed the enormous contribution of the artists, whose works will go on sale Dec. 14 at an opening reception at the Murray Feldman Gallery in the Pacific Design Center. All money raised will go to the American Foundation on AIDS Research, a national organization, and to AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Eisner stressed that two factors have an enormous impact on him and pushed him to participate--one was Dr. Mathilde Krim, who first put together AmFAR, and the other was the incredible contribution of the artists.

He kidded that four years ago, “between Paramount and Disney,” he had dinner with the Krims and was so fascinated by the doctor that he never talked to her husband, Arthur Krim, the chairman of the board of Orion Pictures. The Krims flew in from New York for the kick-off, and Dr. Krim told the group that “AIDS is a problem whose magnitude we cannot measure . . . but it is a killer.”

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Susie Field, who along with her husband Ted will host and completely underwrite the dinner Jan. 29, was clear that such private efforts were urgently needed, even though President Reagan last week signed legislation putting millions of federal dollars into the AIDs fight. “We have to have a partnership between the government and private people--and we have to be building new partnerships between groups of people. The sale of art and the dinner is a good example of how such partnerships can work and can raise money, money that is desperately needed.”

Across Party Lines

The fight against AIDS knows no party lines--Susie and Ted Field being joined by David Murdock, along with Edythe and Eli Broad, David Geffen, Ariadne Getty and Dr. Armand Hammer.

The gala was originally set for the opening night of the exhibit, but, with the enormous response by artists, it was switched to the final night. “We hope to announce that all the art is sold,” said Joan Nicholas, an Events co-chair, who, along with Lynda Palevsky, has put together a committee that includes Judy Hennings, Joan Hotchkis, Linda May and Linda Burrows.

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That’s not all the brand names involved, since David Hockney and Sam Francis are heading up the Artist Committee, with works from a long list of artists including Chuck Arnoldi, Laddie John Dill, Ed Moses, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper, George Hurrell and Peter Shire.

As Joan Nicholas explained it, the committees have worked together, evaluating and accepting the art. “We now have 175 pieces and some of them, like the Hockney, are very important,” said Nicholas, who with her husband Fred is a major collector. “We already have art worth $1 million--and more committed,” she said.

‘A Double Gift’

Eisner said that the art contributed was a “double gift,” since the artist had to give time and talent, and, unlike a dollar contribution, there was no tax deduction for donated works of art.

Among those in the crowd of supporters were Roz Wyman, AmFAR board members Rosemary Tomisch and Dr. Joel Wiseman, Orion’s Mike and Patricia Medavoy, Interscope’s Bob Burkett, Al and Kathy Checci, Tony Thomopoulos, artist Tony Bill, collector Jane Nathanson with Falcon Communications’ David Quarles, Morgan Fairchild, Judge Steven Lachs, attorney David Wexler and, as always adding glamour to any room, Gregory and Veronique Peck.


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