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Venice Biennale curator Daniel Birnbaum and arts patron Francesca von Habsburg at the "Icelanding-Russian Friendship Gathering" dinner on Feb. 11, 2009
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LONDON DISPATCH
by Laura K. Jones



A last-ditch attempt at fundraising to save the Colony Room -- the Soho watering hole and private members club of Francis Bacon and his successor Damien Hirst (at least in terms of infamy and work ethic) -- took place at a grand old 18th-century mansion in Portland Place. The night was fuelled by pork crackling sandwiches with apple sauce and organized by a rag-taggle breakaway group of members working under the umbrella title of Save the Colony Rooms (STCR). Tracey Emin was said to have had a silent hand in supporting the night. But, crucially, STCR was definitely not endorsed by the Colonyís distinctively strange proprietor Michael Wojas, who has been selling off the majority of the art that had been donated to the club over the years, much to the consternation of many Colony Room members. Wojas later put a big chunk of the work into a hastily arranged auction at a disused church on the Marylebone Road, but despite the lashings of publicity, the sale bombed.

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