Mark Grotjahn, Drunk in Dallas, Collapses as Painting Sells for $1 Million

"Untitled (In and Out of Darkness Face 43.01)" by Mark Grotjahn (2011) sold for $1 million. (Courtesy Two x Two)

Sadly for artist Mark Grotjahn, what happens in Dallas doesn’t stay in Dallas, at least if it makes its way onto The Dallas Mornings News‘s Pop Culture Blog.

Today, columnist Alan Peppard brought us an unsettling scene from last night’s Two by Two for AIDS and Art gala, which was held at the estate of collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky.

As Patti LaBelle serenaded the crowd at the party, Mr. Grotjahn was outside, apparently very inebriated. Here is the story, according to Mr. Peppard:

“Grotjahn staggered down the Rachofsky’s long driveway toward traffic, shouting obscenities at the hapless female assistant charged with protecting him from himself. ‘I will [present participial expletive] sleep right here!’ he ranted. ‘[Declarative expletive] you!’

“With rock star aplomb, he splayed down in the greenery next to a brand-new Rolls-Royce and right at the feet of a newspaper columnist holding an iPhone camera.

“Attempts to rouse him were met the same ferocious, ‘I said, [expletive] you!’”

The Pop Culture Blog has photographs of the artist horizontal on the ground.

On a decidedly more positive note, the painting that Mr. Grotjahn gave to the auction sold for $1 million, and the entire evening’s haul was $4.8 million, which will be divided between the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the Dallas Museum of Art. Maxwell Anderson, who was just named DMA director, can clearly look forward to some great parties.

Mr. Peppard signs off with class, telling the artist: “You can die the death of an Irish poet, if you want. But it hurts.”

Ed. note: A reader writes us from Dallas that the following morning, when accepting the AMFAR award for artistic achievement, Mr. Grotjahn gave what was characterized as a moving, witty, heartfelt speech that occasioned much laughter. Considering that artists get no tax deduction on charity auctions — aside from cost of materials — and that his artwork went for such a high price, it must be said that Mr. Grotjahn was not only charitable, but apparently bounced back admirably. Mark Grotjahn, Drunk in Dallas, Collapses as Painting Sells for $1 Million