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Christie's announces new initiative with Global Wildlife Conservation
Rashid Johnson, Untitled Escape Collage. Estimate: $200,000-300,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

NEW YORK, NY.- On September 27, Christie’s New York Post-War to Present Auction will commence with a selection of approximately 20 works to benefit Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC). Each work has been generously donated by either artists or collectors, including Agnus Gund, who contributed Ed Ruscha’s So from her collection. Proceeds from the sale will be utilized to purchase and preserve a large-scale forest in the Americas to form a new national park. The Sheth Sangreal Foundation, led by Brian Sheth, Chair of the Board, Global Wildlife Conservation, have joined in providing matching funds on the benefit.

Brian Sheth, Chair of the Board, Global Wildlife Conservation, commented: “The relationship between nature and art has existed in ways large and small since our shared journey on this planet began. The proceeds and matching funds will bolster our important work to conserve the crown jewels of tropical forests around the world - the very lifeblood of our planet.”

Expectantly, with the funds raised, GWC will be able to preserve a single forest about three times the size of Manhattan and turn it into a new national park. Initiating an ongoing collaboration between Christie’s and GWC, this sale marks Christie’s first time selling a group of works to directly impact the formation of a national park.

Dr. Don Church, President, Global Wildlife Conservation, remarked: “Through this new and unique collaboration among artists, Christie’s, Global Wildlife Conservation and local partners, we are harnessing the power of art to protect acres of tropical forest. Each artwork will push our efforts further toward saving the last unprotected forests in tropical regions in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. These forests provide a home to countless plants, animals, and traditional and indigenous communities, as well as sustaining a vibrant planet for all of humanity.”

The selection of approximately 20 works encompasses artworks by leading artists including The Haas Brothers, Rashid Johnson, Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, Anish Kapoor and Ed Ruscha, as well as major works that mark the first auction appearance for emerging artists such as Loie Hollowell, Max Hooper Schneider, Anicka Yi, Ben Thorp Brown and Elizabeth Jaeger.

Vivian Brodie, Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art, said: “This partnership with Global Wildlife Conservation represents a powerful new initiative to transform works of art into physical acres of protected tropical forest; the relationship between art and conservation does not get much more direct and tangible than this.”

This benefit is focused on tropical forests, the Earth's ‘lungs’, which help drive regional rainfall, clean polluted air, provide for indigenous and traditional communities, and harbor much of life’s medicine cabinet in the form of countless plants and animals.

Leading the group is Anish Kapoor’s Mirror (Pale Tangerine to Dark Purple), 2018 (estimate: $400,000-600,000). Polished to luminous perfection, Anish Kapoor’s Mirror (Pale Tangerine to Dark Purple) alludes the viewer to the endless nature of visual possibilities. Every detail is captured, reflected, and magnified in its lacquered surface, cast in a poetic transience of colors. For over 2,000 years, geometry remained flat, but by utilizing the curvature, Kapoor provides the viewer with an alternative to our flat impression of the Earth. Similarly, mirrors have also been used as lenses for understanding light through a long scientific heritage. In this case, Kapoor is the pioneer who has incorporated geometry with reflection and explored them as pieces of art for the first time.

Rashid Johnson’s Untitled Escape Collage (estimate: $200,000-300,000) – was donated directly from the artist and belongs to a group of works recording the artist’s attempt to reconcile his black experience with visions of future paradise. Highly-saturated palms taunt with promises of tropical escapes from mundanity yet assert their contrived nature through unnatural hues and psychedelic shadows. Most poignant are the pistachio-shaped eyes wrested from images of wooden African deities, ready to pop open at a moment’s notice to catch the viewer in his or her intrusive gaze. Johnson dispels the work’s lofty claims by taking it to the street—tagging his own work with graffiti marks. As utopia materializes, the hooded teenager appears with a bottle of spray paint to reintroduce raw humanity.

Among the highlights is Taz-Been & Cheetah Hayworth & La Brea Brad Pitt & Quasidodo & Fruit Stripe (5 works), 2017 by the Haas Brothers (estimate: $150,000-200,000). With their exaggerated features and splayed limbs, this group of Haas Brothers rugs demonstrates their interest in the animal form. Resembling what at first may seem to be regular animal pelts, they are no ordinary animals at all. The Haas Brothers explain, “We were inspired by animal pelts, but we thought it’d be funny to use extinct animals to have pelts that you can’t actually get” (H. Martin, “These Limited-Edition Rugs Are Works of Contemporary Art,” Architectural Digest, 16 April 2017). Thus, they take on the shapes of a Dodo bird, Woolly Mammoth, Tasmanian Tiger, Giant Cheetah, and a long-lost subspecies of zebra, the Quagga. Rich in color, soft in texture, and spirited in wordplay, this series’ sense of fun and imaginative invention attract and beguile the viewer.

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