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Prominent artists donate works to benefit the Studio Museum's new building project
Street Level View of Main Entrance. Courtesy Adjaye Associates.


NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced that an intergenerational group of prominent artists with close ties to the mission and history of The Studio Museum in Harlem will donate important works for auction this May at Sotheby’s New York to benefit the institution. Artists including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Mark Bradford, Sam Gilliam, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Lorna Simpson and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye will participate in Creating Space: Artists for The Studio Museum in Harlem: An Auction to Benefit the Museum’s New Building, supporting the campaign to construct the museum’s new home designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson.

The donated works will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auctions on 16 & 17 May in New York, and will be on public exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 4 May. A list of all participating artists and details about their donated works will be available later this spring.

Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, said: “I’m profoundly touched by the tremendous generosity that artists and their representatives have demonstrated for this project. Artists are at the heart of everything the Studio Museum has done for the past fifty years—from our foundational Artist-in-Residence program to creating impactful exhibitions of artists of African descent at every stage in their careers. It means so much to have artists support us in creating this dynamic new building, where their work can engage the public even more deeply.”

The artists participating in Creating Space: Artists for The Studio Museum in Harlem have relationships with the Studio Museum that span virtually all of the institution’s five-decade history. All were significantly impacted at some stage in their careers by the work of the Studio Museum. Sam Gilliam first presented work at the Studio Museum in Harlem Artists ’69 (1969), less than a year after the Museum opened to the public in September 1968. Glenn Ligon’s long relationship with the Museum began with an internship in the 1980s, and his site-specific work Give Us a Poem has greeted Museum visitors since 2007 and will be installed in the new building. Lorna Simpson’s work was first shown at the Studio Museum in Constructed Images: New Photography (1989). Mark Bradford and Rashid Johnson both made their New York debuts in Freestyle (2001), the first in the Museum’s now-iconic “F-show” series of emerging artists, which also included Julie Mehretu. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye was featured in another “F-show,” Flow (2008); her first solo museum exhibition, Any Number of Preoccupations, opened at the Studio Museum in 2010. Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Mehretu were participants in the Museum’s signature Artist-in-Residence program in 2011–12 and 2000–01, respectively. Many are represented in the Studio Museum’s collection and all have long exhibition histories at the Museum. Simpson was the inaugural recipient of the Studio Museum’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize in 2006; the Studio Museum subsequently awarded the Wein Prize to Ligon (2009) and Akunyili Crosby (2015).

Valentino D. Carlotti, Sotheby’s Global Head of Business Development, commented: “It is our privilege to partner with The Studio Museum in Harlem during this pivotal moment in its history, as it advances its legacy as a platform of artist development and support.”

Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Art Division, added: “It is a tremendous honor to support The Studio Museum in Harlem as it embarks on a building project that will further its important mission into the next 50 years and beyond. The artists participating in these sales represent some of the most vital creative voices of our time, and it is a great privilege to present their works this spring.





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