Although a wide variety of museums across New York City are either open or plan to reopen to the public soon (albeit at 25 percent capacity and with enforced social distancing), the financial toll the ongoing pandemic has taken on art and design institutions can’t be overstated. With one-third of U.S. museums anticipated to close this year in the wake of COVID, multinational Swiss gallery Hauser & Wirth is putting together a benefit to help nonprofit museums in New York stay afloat.
The “Artists for New York” initiative, announced earlier today, has collected work from over 100 artists and will put them on display for the public across both New York Hauser & Wirth galleries (at 542 West 22nd Street and 32 East 69th Street) from October 1 through 22. All of the artists have agreed to donate the work going up for sale, and after deducting fees and other expenses, it’s expected about half of the proceeds generated will go towards the following 14 visual arts institutions, split evenly:
“The Bronx Museum of the Arts; the Dia Art Foundation; the Drawing Center; El Museo del Barrio; High Line Art; MoMA PS1; the New Museum; the Public Art Fund; the Queens Museum; SculptureCenter; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Swiss Institute, and White Columns.”
The list is surprising, as it encompasses a number of supposedly larger institutions (such as the Queens offshoot of the Museum of Modern Art, Dia, the New Museum, and the Swiss Institute, which just moved into a new home only two years ago), but as the saying goes, “any port in a storm.” Two general nonprofit charitable partners will also receive a cut; The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which is intended to better the lives of low-income New York residents, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), which provides emergency grants to artists as well as supporting individuals and artistic organizations in need.
“As we looked ahead to the fall and how best to emerge from this challenging time,” writes Marc Payot, “it was clear to Iwan [Wirth], Manuela [Wirth], and myself, as well as our artists, that we couldn’t simply proceed with ‘business as usual’ without also addressing the very real needs of the non-profit organizations that have become our community since our gallery first opened in New York City in 2009. For us, ‘Artists for New York’ is a way to support and give back to that community at a critical moment. Through years of adventurous programs with living artists, these fourteen bellwether non-profits have expanded awareness and understanding of society’s complexities and potential. […] Most of all, they will continue to foster the breakthroughs of artists.”
While the list of contributing artists is too long to replicate here, it’s available in the press release linked above and contains a venerable survey of practicing contemporary artists across every medium.