Art in Uncertain Times: Making Good Works for Good Works
It is truly inspiring seeing how quickly the art community is reacting to the new situation, coming up with ways to support artists, galleries, and cultural institutions, as well as nurses, doctors, first responders, and the many(too many) economically disadvantaged members of our society. With this in point, we want to call special attention to some efforts we came across that deserve special mention. Clearly, this is only a fraction of what's happening out there, so feel free to do your own research and support the causes you find important.
One of the initiatives that gained a lot of attention is the @artistsupportpledge initiative by Matthew Burrows on Instagram. Through a pay-it-forward concept artists are able to offer works for no more than £200 each (not including shipping), and every time they reach £1000 of sales they pledge to buy another artist's work for £200. This simple concept created a small but dynamic community that now has over 72,000 posts and has generated a significant amount for artists and makers across the globe as more individuals join daily. Another idea that gained a lot of traction on Instagram is the @artistsforhumans project created by @hannahbeerman. This platform offers works by established artists in an effort to protect the most vulnerable, elderly and immunocompromised, through supporting coalitionforthehomeless.org. With new works being added daily, both of these are good to follow and support.
Another noteworthy project is an online auction organized by artist Doron Langberg and facilitated by Yossi Milo Gallery through Artsy, offering works by some of the most celebrated NYC-based painters/artists to support @foodbank4nyc. Food Bank 4 NYC, the city’s leading hunger-relief organization, is on a mission to end hunger by organizing food, information, and support for community survival and dignity for at least 1.4 million New Yorkers. Some of the participating artists raising the money for this important cause include Juxtapoz favorites like Robin F Williams, Katherine Bradford, Danielle Orchard, Dana Schutz, Eliot Greenwald, Sam Mckinniss, Louis Fratino, Michael Stamm, Cindy Ji Hye Kim, Robert Nava and many more.
On the other side of the globe, the Italian space of NYC's Postmasters gallery, PostmastersRoma, organized their own online exhibition and charity sale. For this effort, 37 international artists are incorporating into their works the theme of Amabie, a long-haired mythical creature with three legs and a beak, which is believed in Japanese folklore to protect against epidemics. Submissions are added online daily and all proceeds will be forwarded to Spallanzani Hospital, a national institute for infectious diseases in Rome. Some of the participating artists include Canyon Castator, Davor Gromilovic, Rebecca Morgan, Christian Rex van Minnen, Ryan Travis Christian, and Nicola Verlato, to name a few.
In Germany, Wolfgang Tillmans' Between Bridges Foundation launched 2020 Solidarity project involving over 40 artists who each design a poster to be offered on different crowdfunding sites as a reward for donations. Aiming to help cultural and music venues, community projects, independent spaces, and publications that are existentially threatened by the current crisis. These posters are not intended for direct sale, but 2020 Solidarity organizes, prints, and distributes them to organizations in need. The contributing artists for this initiative include the likes of Marlene Dumas, Nicole Eisenman, Ebecho Muslimova, Luc Tuymans, David Wojnarowicz with Tom Warren and Christopher Wool.
Speaking of supporting people working in cultural institutions, New York Academy of Art organized a fundraiser and online sale of works by their students, aiming to support NYAA staff.
On an individual level, we note KAWS releasing a series of mini prints to support local charities and relief funds, Javier Calleja releasing a new colorway of a Do Not Touch figure to purchase 200,000 face masks for the local hospital in Malaga, Spain, and Philippines-based artist Louie Cordero selling small scale originals to raise money to help the frontliners battling the virus and the less fortunate. —Sasha Bogojev