Inside Madonna's Epic Art Basel Charity Auction and Performance

Inside Madonna's Epic Art Basel Charity Auction and Performance

Channeling a burlesque clown, the icon hosted a night of fun, and raised $7 million in the process.

Channeling a burlesque clown, the icon hosted a night of fun, and raised $7 million in the process.

Text: Greg Krelenstein

The city of Miami has always been very important in the shaping off Madonna's career. It was there that she shot with Steven Meisel for her SEX book, collaborated with Gianni Versace on his fashion campaigns, and partied with club impresario Ingrid Casares. It makes sense, then, that she would return there for a night of fun and debauchery, all for a good cause, of course.

To close out the annual Miami art festival, Art Basel, Madonna hosted a night of "art, mischief, and music" to benefit Raising Malawi. Under the big top, at the Faena Forum, Madonna performed, held a dinner, and hosted an art auction that that raised over 7 million dollars. The event attracted a star-studded crowd, naturally, which included ex-husband Sean Penn, James Corden, Courtney Love, P Diddy, A-Rod, Chris Rock, Ariana Grande, and Bethenny Frenkel.

Madonna’s personal wedding photos with Penn photographed by Herb Ritts, artworks by Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, and Tracy Emin, a photo session with Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, and an original Moschino dress created by Jeremy Scott for the Rebel Heart tour were all a part of the 26 items being auctioned off. Grande modeled the Rebel Heart ensemble and Penn appeared on stage, too, for the selling of his wedding photos. Amongst many of the things said during the night, Madonna told Penn, "I'm still in love with you," and even offered to remarry the star if someone bid $150,000.

As for the performance, Madonna hit the stage for a reprisal of her "Tears of A Clown" show, which included a mix of B-sides ("Like It Or Not," "Easy Ride," "I’m So Stupid"), hits ("Express Yourself," "Holiday," "Don’t Tell Me"), and covers ("Send In The Clowns," "Toxic").

See photos from the event in the slideshow below.

Ryan McGinley

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