It was art that helped shape New York’s colorful landscape and art that will play a critical role in its future recovery from the pandemic. That notion inspired Hauser & Wirth to launch a major initiative to help bolster creative organizations across the city that have been profoundly impacted by Covid-19.
“Artists for New York” will bring together dozens of blue-chip works by pioneering artists that will then be sold to raise millions for non-profit visual arts institutions across the five boroughs. These small- to mid-scale institutions, which range from MoMA PS1 and the New Museum to El Museo del Barrio, the Public Art Fund and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, have long been mainstays of the city’s vibrant cultural scene yet are reeling from budget cuts and prolonged closures.
The project was organized by Hauser & Wirth co-president Marc Payot in close collaboration with the 14 participating non-profits. More than half of the proceeds raised from the initiative will be allocated to the groups, along with the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, which gives grants to artists and arts organizations, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which helps vulnerable New Yorkers. The rest of the funds will go directly to the participating artists.
“Through years of adventurous programs with living artists, these 14 bellwether non-profits have expanded awareness and understanding of society’s complexities and potential,” Payot said in a press release. “They’ve introduced us to new art and new ways of thinking, they’ve enriched all of our lives. And we believe they will together play a central role in the city’s recovery from this unprecedented time of difficulty, helping their communities to restore, revive, and forge new paths for the future.”
More than 100 artists, from both within and outside of the gallery’s program, have already rallied to the cause and donated works to be sold. Jenny Holzer’s uncharacteristically optimistic piece In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive and You Were Full of Joy (above) is just one highlight of the remarkable haul. There are also works by contemporary heavyweights Rashid Johnson (top image), Cindy Sherman, Simone Leigh, Kara Walker and Ai Weiwei, to name but a few. (The full list will be available on Hauser & Wirth’s website.)
Beginning October 1, Hauser & Wirth will showcase all of the donated works online, and many of the artworks will also be shown at Hauser & Wirth’s two New York spaces. The gallery will sell the works through its team working directly with collectors.
“For us, Artists for New York is a way to support and give back to the community at a critical moment,” Payot said.
Thanks to this initiative you can buy a piece of art, help a vital cultural institution and, ultimately, bring some color back to the city.