International superstar Madonna took Art Basel in Miami Beach by storm on December 2 with a benefit concert and art auction that raised $7.5 million her foundation Raising Malawi.
The exclusive evening cost at least $5,000 a ticket—$150,000 if you wanted to attend the intimate pre-concert VIP cocktail hour.
The singer adopted her 11-year-old son, David Ritchie, and 10-year-old daughter, Mercy James, from Malawi. “I realize now that I was one of the lucky ones,” Ritchie told the star-studded crowd, who included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Courtney Love, David Blaine, Paris Hilton, and Alex Rodriguez, Madonna’s former flame. She is hoping to build a pediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a Malawi hospital, and to help educate the nation’s youth.
Held at the newly completed Faena Forum in the Faena District, the event saw late-night talk show host James Corden serve as MC. The performance, which kicked off at 1:00 a.m., was the second iteration of Madonna’s “Tears of a Clown,” which blends song and dance numbers with intimate confessionals and stand-up comedy. Clowns, she noted, according to Access Hollywood, are “profoundly misunderstood.”
Though it doesn’t appear to have been caught on camera, Madonna reportedly kissed young pop star Ariana Grande—unclear if it was as racy a smooch as her notorious 2003 MTV VMAs lip lock with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Though Spears wasn’t in attendance, Madonna did perform a slowed-down version of the pop star’s 2003 hit “Toxic,” paired with video footage of Donald Trump and protest rallies against him.
The president-elect was the object of the singer’s derision at various points during the evening. “What you don’t know is that I’ve slept in Donald’s bed,” Madonna revealed, according to Vogue. “But he wasn’t in that bed. He wasn’t anywhere near that bed. I was just doing a photo shoot in Palm Beach. For a Versace campaign. In his house. And let me tell you, the sheets were not 100 percent Egyptian cotton… we all know how he feels about Muslims don’t we!”
The Material Girl also spoke out against the treatment of Native Americans at Standing Rock, saying “it just really makes me feel ashamed, ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being really.”
Sean Penn, Madonna’s ex-husband, also got in on the action, crawling between the singer’s legs and handcuffing her as she announced, “I’m still in love with you.” The two helped spur would-be bidders to join the fray as Madonna auctioned off pieces from her personal art collection, three black and white Herb Ritts photos from her 1985 wedding to Penn, and one of her tour costumes, modeled by Grande.
The wedding snapshots hammered down at $230,000, while a week at DiCaprio’s Palm Springs home went for $140,000. On the art side, there was a Damien Hirst painting, an Ai Weiwei sculpture, and a Tracey Emin print owned by Madonna, which sold for $550,000. Other items for sale included a Bulgari diamond necklace ($180,000) and a poker night with Jonah Hill and Edward Norton.
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