Guy Laliberte Is Hosting a Charity Auction at Phillips to Help Make Clean Drinking Water Available Worldwide

Christopher Wool, David Hammons, Sterling Ruby, and Kara Walker are among the artists donating works to benefit the One Drop organization.

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Cirque du Soleil.

Even the most zealous art collector might occasionally reflect on the social good that could be enacted if the enormous sums of money routinely paid for artworks at auction were given to charitable causes. Fortunately, Phillips’s latest initiative with the clean water organization One Drop aims to show that both can be possible. 

Founded by Canadian collector and Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberté in 2007, One Drop currently operates 13 water access projects in Latin America, India, and Africa to provide clean drinking water to more than 1.3 million people.

Currently, more than two billion people worldwide don’t have safe drinking water in their homes, according to One Drop. “We are coming together to continue to reduce that staggering number,” Laliberté said in a statement. “Seeing this ambitious project come to life has further propelled my passion for art and my belief that art, in its many forms, can be a strong catalyst for change.”

David Hammons, Untitled. Photo courtesy of Phillips.

Artists including Christopher Wool, Tracey Emin, David Hammons, Barbara Kruger, Sterling Ruby, and Kara Walker are among those donating works to a special charity auction that will kick off the Phillips fall auction program in September. It is organized with help from Sprüth Magers gallery and the Swiss curator Philipp Kaiser.

True to its arts-oriented approach to social change, the non-profit also engages directly with the communities it works in through locally-inspired arts programs, including theater productions, murals, videos, and exhibitions.

“Access to safe water is one of the most important ways to support the development of communities around the world and Phillips is honored to work with One Drop on this important auction,” Phillips CEO Ed Dolman said in a statement. “We are truly grateful for the outpouring of generosity we have seen from some of the most important artists working today.”

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