Sotheby’s to Launch Contemporary Art Auction to Raise Funds For Ukraine Relief
Above image Rustam Mirzoev, At the Table
As scenes of almost unimaginable devastation and suffering flash across our screens every day, the overriding feeling is one of helplessness to be able to do much of anything to support the tragically besieged people of Ukraine. Western governments, even, have been handcuffed by the threat of a possible nuclear escalation, should their intervention be seen as crossing the line into direct combat with the Russian military.
But some estimates suggest that hundreds of millions of dollars in donations have thankfully flowed to the relief campaigns in Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24, while international aid organizations have been on the ground doing the extremely difficult work of providing urgent assistance to the thousands of wounded and millions of refugees. In the contemporary art world, dozens of galleries have staged auctions and online sales to raise funds for their efforts, including a significant endeavor by the Paris/Salzburg based Thaddaeus Ropac, which included works by such considerable talents as Antony Gormley, Anselm Kiefer, and Robert Longo.
Now powerhouse Sotheby’s London has taken it a bit more conceptual/ideological, with the Contemporary Discoveries auction – launching Friday, May 13 – dedicated to raising money specifically for families impacted by the war, via the International Rescue Committee. Indeed, of the 28 works for sale, 15 are specifically by Ukranian artists, including Nazar Bilyk, Maria Bilyan and Oksana Mas, organizer of the global interactive art project ARTogether. Amongst the international artists that have contributed are Rachel Kneebone, Zadok Ben-David and Richard Deacon, CBE, the venerable Turner Prize winning British sculptor.
“It is impossible not to be affected by the events in the Ukraine,” observes Sotheby’s Managing Director Sebastian Fahey. “And thanks to these generous contributions from artists and gallerists, this sale will directly help those displaced by the crisis in the Ukraine, generating funds to support the herculean humanitarian relief efforts of the IRC.”
And emphasizing Sotheby’s commitment to supporting the Ukranian contemporary art community as it struggles to have its voices heard in the midst of this unfathomable tragedy, all 15 Ukrainian artists who have donated their work will receive back 100% of the Buyer’s Premium raised from the auction.
Fahey emphasizes, “The sale will support Ukrainian artists practicing today, helping them to continue with their work in these difficult times.”
All images courtesy of Sotheby’s