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06 Oct 2020

The American Folk Art Museum to Launch Online Benefit Auction of Contemporary Art

(New York, October 6, 2020) — The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) announced today the launch of For Folk’s Sake! Contemporary Artists x the American Folk Art Museum, an online auction presented in partnership with Artsy. The benefit auction will feature over 100 works donated by contemporary artists who have close ties to the museum, support its mission, and have looked to its collection and exhibitions for inspiration. It will open on October 8, 2020 and conclude on October 22, 2020. Proceeds from the auction will be used to strengthen the museum’s education programs and exhibitions, as well as ensure free access to its online resources, archives, and library.

“Since its inception, the American Folk Art Museum has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with contemporary artists, including collaborations with Andy Warhol, Paula Rego, Paa Joe, and Grayson Perry. This partnership with Artsy continues that tradition,” said Jason T. Busch, Director of AFAM. “The funds raised through the auction will help us continue our work to be a diverse, accessible, equitable, and inclusive museum.”

Approximately one hundred artists have committed to contributing artworks to this important initiative, including Bisa Butler, Mark Dion, Marcel Dzama, Jenny Holzer, KAWS, Chris Martin, Javier Piñón, Duke Riley, Faith Ringgold, William Wegman, Polly Apfelbaum, Fred Tomaselli, Laurie Simmons, Matt Dillon, John Lurie, Erik Parker, Swoon, Cary Leibowitz, Barry Yusufu, and James Siena.

“The American Folk Art Museum has been a place of safe refuge for outsider artists and folk artists for years,” said artist Bisa Butler “It is a place where we can see Americana crafts in a museum setting and know that the art is respected. I am thankful that I can contribute to an institution like AFAM and I hope that it continues to open doors for many years to come.”

Artist and AFAM Trustee KAWS commented: “There are great things happening at the museum and I am happy to contribute a work in support of AFAM’s programs, exhibitions, and mission.”

The auction will consist of a collection of new and previously displayed artworks from artists and include works on paper and canvas, ceramics, prints, photography, textiles, and mixed-media constructions. The artworks, some of which were made for this auction, represent signature pieces from the artists’ unique practices.

“As we adjust to a changing landscape due to COVID19, we are excited to partner with Artsy and offer a new way for art enthusiasts across the globe to support the museum,” said Karley Klopfenstein, Deputy Director and Chief Development Officer of AFAM. “We are thrilled by the response from such an inspiring group of artists.”

The online auction format will provide emerging and experienced collectors the opportunity to bid on works by some of the world’s most cutting-edge contemporary artists while supporting the work of the museum. Paul Laster, an independent curator, artist, critic, and journalist and Renée Riccardo, an independent curator, are working with the museum as strategic partners in this endeavor to reach artists though their extensive networks.

Laster commented: “A faithful fan of the museum and the work of folk, self-taught and outsider artists that it continually champions, I’ve come to recognize the passion and shared interest that my contemporary colleagues have for this art. Many of the contemporary artists invited to contribute to For Folk’s Sake collect the same type of work that the museum fosters, with the parallels between the genres growing closer everyday.”

About the American Folk Art Museum

Since 1961, the American Folk Art Museum has been the leading institution shaping the understanding of art by the self-taught through its exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. As a center of scholarship, it showcases the creativity of individuals whose singular talents have been refined through personal experience rather than formal artistic training. Its collection includes more than eight thousand works of art from four centuries and nearly every continent—from compelling portraits and dazzling quilts to powerful works by living artists in a variety of mediums. The museum will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2021.