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Artists' auction aims to raise money for Democrats

Artist Chuck Close, left, and Karenna Gore Schiff discuss the artworks that will be sold to raise money for Democrats. Close painted the portrait of Schiff's father, Vice President Al Gore, seen in the background  

August 30, 2000
Web posted at: 4:50 p.m. EDT (2050 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The first-ever Internet art auction to raise money for a political party is set to launch, as more than 70 American artists will put their works up for sale to raise money for the Democrats.

Some of the country's best-known emerging and established visual artists -- including Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein -- will contribute more than 1,500 works over the Web to raise an estimated at $1 million for the Democratic National Committee, DNC officials announced Wednesday.

The auction, dubbed DNC Art 2000, will run from September 11 through the first week of October. Pieces for sale include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and collages.

Karenna Gore Schiff, daughter of Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore, introduced the auction plan at a news conference at the Manhattan gallery of, which will run the sale.

"DNC Art 2000 brings together the unmatched creative power of some of America's finest artistic talent with the innovation of the Internet," Schiff said. "At the same time, we can support our ideals, surf the Web, celebrate art and view or perhaps purchase some very exciting works."

Schiff said her father has won the backing of artists because he is a supporter of arts education and federal funding for arts projects.

"As president, my father will continue to fight for a strong national commitment to the National Endowment of the Arts," Schiff said.

Schiff and her husband, Drew, have been directly involved in recruiting the artists for six months, as has been Close, a painter who led the committee selecting the works. Close said he would be voting for the Gore-Lieberman ticket.

"Artists have a special commitment to their candidacy because of the effort to stem the tide of the erosion of free speech and the ideals of a free and open society which have occurred with Republican administrations," he said.

Close created two large photo portraits of Al Gore for the sale, one color and one black-and-white. Close called the artists' contributions "real philanthropy," since the creators receive no tax deduction for their political donations.

Almost all of the works came from the living artists themselves. Works by the late Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol came from private collectors, and a print by the late Richard Deibenkorn came from his widow.

Nearly 80 artists are represented in the sale so far, with more on the way. The number of items offered is expected to grow as high as 2,000, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to as much as $50,000. In addition, a handful of photographs by Tipper Gore will be raffled off to registered participants.

Hopeful buyers must pay $1,000 to register for the silent bidding. Half of the fee goes to their first purchase.

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Election 2000 - Where They Stand

Democratic National Committee
National Endowment of the Arts
The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation
The Andy Warhol Foundation

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