Leonardo DiCaprio is staying true to his word about using some time off from acting to “do some good for the environment.”
The 38-year-old has partnered his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation with auction house Christie’s to host “The 11th Hour Charity Auction,” featuring donated pieces from more than 30 of the most important living artists. Organizers are hopeful the event will raise $25 million for various environmental initiatives.
“My Foundation has worked on environmental issues since 1998, and despite the great efforts by organizations all over the world, our planet is in trouble,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “The modern world is placing enormous pressure on the very natural systems that sustain us; we are destroying our forests, polluting the air and water, overfishing our oceans and facing overwhelming extinction rates of plants and animals. Consequently less than 2 percent of our oceans and 12 percent of our forests and wildlands are protected.
“Nature is abundant and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it’s too late,” he added. “Given that less than 2 percent of philanthropic giving goes to environmental conservation projects, we are grateful that Christie’s and the participating artists are providing this incredible opportunity.”
Notable names who have donated pieces, many created specifically for the event, include Kai Althoff, Banksy, Peter Beard, Carol Bove, Joe Bradley, Cecily Brown, Dan Colen, George Condo, John Currin, and many more.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, “The Great Gatsby” star talked about his interest in collecting art, as well as those artists that speak to him and the conservation projects he’s passionate about.
“When I was a kid, I was fascinated by species that have been brought to extinction by man,” he says. “Then a couple years ago I saw this exhibit of Walton Ford’s work in Berlin, and he had a watercolor of this extinct elephant bird called the moa and another one of a Tasmanian tiger. He knows the importance of preserving these species, and he doesn’t make them seem savage. Now we get together sometimes, but as much as we would like to talk about art, we mostly just geek out. It becomes an Audubon conversation pretty quickly.”
“The 11th Hour Auction” will take place at Christie’s on May 13. Click here to view more information on the event.