Crowdfunding captures the art world’s imagination

Big-name artists and institutions are using Kickstarter to fund their projects


Marina Abramovic made headlines in 2013 when she raised $661,452 on Kickstarter for her performance institute, and now a growing number of blue-chip artists and museums are following suit. In the past year, the crowdfunding platform has taken “a more proactive role in speaking with artists, institutions and galleries about its potential to support projects and reach new audiences”, says Victoria Rogers, the head of Kickstarter’s arts and photography division.

Rather than going public, New York-based Kickstarter was legally reincorporated as a public-benefit corporation in September 2015. This requires it to take the public’s interest into account, even as a for-profit entity.

“Written into our charter is a commitment to donate a portion of our revenue to arts and music education programmes”, Rogers says. “We see the art world reaching outwards increasingly frequently, with institutions questioning how they can better serve their communities, and artists working more and more in social and public practice.

“Both emerging and established artists can use Kickstarter as a tool to galvanise a community around their next project, and to reach an audience outside of their network; it’s truly a tool for dialogue with a broader public.”

Artists and institutions that have recently launched Kickstarter campaigns Tania Bruguera

Goal: $100,000

The Cuban artist is raising funds to provide her Havana-based organisation Instar (Institute of Artivism Hannah Arendt) with computers, printers and audio equipment, and to pay staff salaries, support a website and provide public programming.

William Kentridge

Goal: $80,000

The South African artist is seeking support to create the final ten of 80 stencilled forms in his 550m mural Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome, which is slated to open along the banks of the River Tiber on 21 April.

Chinati Foundation

Goal: $75,000

The Marfa, Texas-based Chinati Foundation is soliciting donations to help the artist Robert Irwin build his first permanent installation there: a C-shaped building with a courtyard and garden. The foundation plans to inaugurate the installation in July.

Queens Museum

Goal: $30,000

The museum has commissioned the artists Duke Riley and Mariam Ghani to create large-scale works inspired by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro’s forthcoming atlas of New York City, Nonstop Metropolis. The exhibition opens on 10 April.