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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Art Auction to Benefit AIDS Charity

Some 30 works by well-known contemporary Russian artists are scheduled to be auctioned Thursday in a benefit for the nonprofit group Russian AIDS Relief, in the first event of its kind in Moscow.


Proceeds from the auction, to be held at 20 Staraya Basmannaya Ulitsa, will go to buy medicine, food and clothing and pay funeral expenses for people with AIDS, said Robert Filippini, the organizer of Artists Against AIDS.


The event, scheduled to run from 7 P.M. to 11 P.M., will feature works from such artists as Dmitry Prigov and Andrei Bartenev.


"The show is sort of a 'Who's Who' of the avant-garde Russian movement," said Filippini, 42, a New York artist who has lived in Moscow for more than two years. "The art is an absolute bargain. Basically, the prices are about 50 percent of the studio price. I'd buy half the show, if I weren't so broke."


Starting prices range from $100 to $2,000, and Filippini said he expects to raise at least $3,000 from the auction. Any unsold works will be available for private viewing in Moscow and also in New York, where two galleries have agreed to display the auction's catalog, he said.


Government figures put the number of HIV-positive people in Russia at about 800, of whom 230 have AIDS, said Shona Schonning, resource manager at AIDS Infoshare Russia. However, Schonning cautioned, official figures may be much lower than the actual number of cases.


"Many people in the highest-risk groups avoid taking the tests, because if you test positive you then go through an extensive background check," she said. "It is demeaning, so people avoid the test. That skews the statistics."