Today is the Day Foundation’s
3rd Annual Benefit and Art AuctionBy Rigche Ma
NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2014 – Today is the Day Foundation’s 3rd Annual Benefit and Art Auction took place at the quaint Jane Hotel, by the Hudson River in the West Village. The evening was hosted by performance artist Mai Ueda, included a special video appearance by Benicio del Toro, a performance by New Optimism with Miho Hatori from Cibo Matto and a tea ceremony by Urasenke Chanoyu Society of New York.
The live auction was led by accomplished charity auctioneer Brook Hazelton, featuring the artworks of known artists such as Lawrence Weiner, Mariko Mori, Kim Sooja, Masato Kobayashi, Bryan Hunt, Tatsuo Miyajima, Takashi Murakami, El Arakawa, Rinko Kawauchi, David Reed, Xavier Veilhan, Gianni Motti, Farhad Moshiri, Hernan Bas, Paul Miller, and Kiki Smith, among others. The pieces were bid on by art collectors and supporters and sold for between US$500 – $8000. Proceeds from the evening go towards an exchange and art retreat program in Singapore for Japanese children affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Joan Jonas, American visual artist and pioneering figure in performance and video art, who was in Japan during the unfortunate 2011 disaster, gave a moving speech about her experience and read a collection of newspaper headlines she had accumulated about the tragedy. Some of the titles were, ‘Tsunami warnings for the ages carved in stones’, ‘At age 84, a city’s last geisha defies time and a fourth tsunami’, ‘Life in limbo for Japanese near damaged nuclear plant’, and ‘Severed from the world – villagers survive on tight bonds and to-do lists’.
Last year, the foundation’s art retreat program benefitted some 10 children for 10 days. This year, they hope to raise enough to include more participants, and to extend the duration of the program to 14 days – the positive effects on health is said to significantly increase if victims exposed to radiation stayed away from the contaminated areas for more than a fortnight. ‘Institutions and adults have a responsibility to ensure children have good health, can lead long lives and have a creative and free environment to explore. Today is the Day exists to realize this.’ said Noritoshi Hirakawa, artist and founder of the foundation.
Today is the Day foundation is based in Hiroshima, Japan. Grounded on the belief that art must explore the function of free will, and transcend contrivance in order to construct a social model that allows human existence to stand on its own, the foundation’s goal is to touch the deepest level of awareness through forms of art, music, dance, performance, lecture, video, film, and workshops. Spearheaded by Noritoshi Hirakawa when he was invited to a conference a year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Noritoshi said that he was moved by the Fukushima community’s strong anticipation for recovery and positive change, so he mobilized illustrious friends and multi-national members of the art world interested in societal changes, such as Marina Abramovic, Lawrence Weiner, Luc Tuymans, Benicio Del Toro and more, and created the art retreat program with the vision to support recovery from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe.
More information about the Foundation can be found by visiting their website at www.todayistheday-foundation.com
Some of Noritori’s works can be found at http://www.seditionart.com/noritoshi-hirakawa. Event photos provided by Michelle Yue Wang for Today is the Day Foundation, and additional images by Yuko Tokotorihara for Today is the Day Foundation.