In honor of TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, the Dallas-based contemporary art auction benefiting amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art, we interviewed three leading art dealers with long-standing dedication to the annual event. Friedrich Petzel of Petzel Gallery, David Maupin of Lehmann Maupin, and Barbara Gladstone of Gladstone Gallery shared their insights on the event, the artworks their galleries contributed, and TWO x TWO’s significance to the greater art world.
Artsy: Why is TWO x TWO important to you personally? And why is it important to the greater art world?
Friedrich Petzel: TWO x TWO benefits a great cause by supporting amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art. The hosts, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, are the most generous patrons in the contemporary art world and they have the best intentions to protect the integrity of the work. It’s an auction where even the artists feel welcomed!
David Maupin: These are two great causes that I care deeply about, and the event is extremely professionally run. I have a lot of close friends and colleagues in the Dallas/Texas area and it is a very special place for me. Having such an important event in Dallas signals to the greater art world that you can partner with significant organizations in creative ways and incorporate a greater awareness in the art community.
Barbara Gladstone: Two x Two has established an important link between two issues that are of concern to us, namely AIDS, which took so many brilliant lives in the art world, and, on a happier note, museum acquisition funds, which assure eminent placement for important works of art.
Artsy: Can you tell us about the works that your artist(s) contributed?
FP: Mark's Camera 3 [by Troy Brauntuch] was inspired by a trip that Troy took in 2011 to Bastrop, a suburb of Austin where a wildfire wiped out over 1,500 homes. A friend of his, a photographer, lost his entire studio in this fire and Troy was struck by the image of the burnt out camera, which his friend used for his work. He used the camera for a series of “portraits” of the object, a relic, in a way, of something that was once used to document, and then destroyed by something uncontrollable but most likely man-made.
DM: Tracey Emin’s Trust Yourself, was chosen specifically by Tracey for this event. She has shown in Texas many times and it is an important place for her. Her neon works often incorporate passionate terms about love, affection, and are filled with deep emotion. This idea of tangible passion relates directly with TWO x TWO; everyone who is involved with the event is unbelievably passionate about what they are raising awareness for. There is an electricity that is indescribable during the auction that is exceptional to experience, so I think this work will be perfect for TWO x TWO.
BG: Ugo Rondinone’s The Proud  is especially perfect, since we just had an enormously successful presentation of very large versions of this series at Rockefeller Center last May, presented by the Public Art Fund. The group has been wildly successful and I can imagine the bidding will be very lively! Also, Ugo is part of a project sponsored by the Nasher in Dallas this month, so he will already be part of the Dallas atmosphere.
The work by Rosemarie Trockel [Mid-March, 2013] is part of her series of wool works, completely new, and in anticipation of her show in New York at our gallery in November.
Artsy: When and how did you get involved with TWO x TWO?
DM: We have been donating works and participating at TWO x TWO since its inauguration 14 years ago.
BG: Cindy and Howard Rachofsky are a vital part of the international art world, and the event has always been at Rachofsky House, even though it has grown from its more intimate days to the important and compelling entity it is today. It is important to note the impact the liveliness of the community of collectors in Dallas have on all of us in the art world. TWO x TWO has come to generate huge interest and activity that goes far beyond this single annual event.
Artsy: Which of your artists have given works over the years since TWO x TWO’s inception?
Artsy: Can you share a special memory from one of the past TWO x TWO gala dinners that you have attended?
FP: [Emcee] Alan Cumming is a blast! He doesn’t hold back, yet nobody cringes under his outrageous sense of humor. But, I most enjoyed our post-party events, one of which included riding an electric bull in some pub.
DM: The year we donated a work by Jennifer Steinkamp, which was an edition of two, there was an extremely heated back-and-forth between the two top bidders. Seeing an amazing opportunity, Howard Rachofsky came up to me and asked if we could donate both editions of the work to the top bidder and the under bidder. It was at this moment that I felt how passionately Howard, Cindy, and everyone involved with TWO x TWO were in this organization.
Artsy: How is the quality of the works in TWO x TWO different from other benefit auctions?
FP: We try to give great works that may even find their way into the collection of the Dallas Art Museum through the commitment of generous patrons.
DM: Everything is extremely high quality. Artists and galleries work together to make sure they are bringing the best works. It perfectly fits the amazing venue and is a very special thing for everyone involved.