Photo 16 comes to Milk Studios

by flaunt

We speak to Milk Studios LA Co-Founder Willie Maldonado about his decision to host the Foundation for a National AIDS Monument annual benefit
When the Foundation for a National AIDS Monument asked Willie Maldonado if Milk Studios would consider hosting a fundraiser for an AIDS monument, he didn’t have to think twice. “Immediately when they asked me, the answer was yes. I remembered all the people related to our community that were lost in this crisis, and I knew this was something we wanted to do.”

Milk has made good on that commitment for two years running, calling upon on the community of photographers, filmmakers, fashionistas, and musicians in orbit around their studios to donate pieces for a major photo auction with the goal of raising funds for Daniel Tobin’s “Traces,” a public art installation in the city of West Hollywood “that will memorialize the AIDS crisis and help celebrate the lives of those who have passed, and honor the organization and institutions of change.”

As the donations came in, a theme coalesced—icons. “90% of the photos are directly from the photographers. Everyone seems to be kind of like-minded, and it was interesting to see what people would donate. A lot of times they donated photographs of people somehow related to the crisis, or people that were around and at the height of their career in the ’80s when there was a big AIDS crisis, or people that had a big following,” Maldonado says. “Grace Jones, Andy Warhol, Mapplethorpe. People donated pictures of icons from around that era, but what’s interesting too is that we have a lot of photos of new icons too—Beyoncé, for instance.”

Photo 16 takes place on October 6th, and promises to be one of the most glamorous photo auctions of the year, with all proceeds going towards the project. It seems that the contributors felt the same spirit as Mr. Maldonado. “It was just like, I’m in—thanks for asking,” he says. “It’s a local charity, it’s in West Hollywood in Los Angeles. There’s a big sense of community from Los Angeles and from the photography industry that we work in. The AIDS crisis hit our community hard, and we all know someone from that time whose memory we want to honor.”

The online auction has already begun, with live lots closing the day before the event while silent lots run through the event. If you’ve been waiting for a good reason to pick up that Ed Ruscha photograph you’ve had your eye on, or maybe a Dennis Hopper print, now’s your chance to do so and feel good about it.

Purchase tickets here, and click through our gallery to see some of the pieces available.

Written by Sid Feddema

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