Galleries, institutions and artists across the US are increasingly promoting the sale of prints to benefit various initiatives to help offset ongoing financial losses across the creative industry due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
"As artists, our gift and our skill set is that we can organise feelings and emotions into shapes, colours, form and images in such ways that they capture and embody what we are experiencing [and] this is why art is important especially in times as complex and frightful as we are in now," Eric Fischl says.
The artist has created a limited edition of 50 signed prints of his painting Mix and Match (2020), which will be sold for $1,000 via Artspace beginning 6 April to benefit the New York Academy of Art. The academy cancelled its Tribeca Ball—an annual fundraiser to support scholarships and resources for its students, originally planned for 6 April—due to necessary Covid-19 closures in New York. Fischl was to be the faculty member honoured at this year’s event.
"There is a part of me that wants to creatively rush into battle against the dark forces that fuel our fear and anger,” Fischl tells The Art Newspaper. “But there is another part of me that wants to soothe this agitation with images of tenderness, joy, humour and sun-filled beauty that can keep us connected to our hopes and our optimism rather than our fear and panic."
Additionally, the New York-based art consultancy firm Sidel & McElwreath have partnered with the online prints dealer Exhibition A to launch Print Aid. On 25 March, they will offer three silkscreen prints by artists Caris Reid, Kim Dorland and Jennifer Caviola in an edition of 50 for $200.
Sales of each print produced will go toward supporting artists affected by the pandemic. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Artist's Fellowship, Inc., a non-profit organisation that financially assists professional visual artists and their families in times of emergency.
The first group of artists featured were chosen based on their “relationship with nature and humanity that speaks to our collective need for connection right now”, says Emily McElwreath of Sidel & McElwreath. Over the coming weeks, Print Aid will accept submissions of artwork from artists whose practice has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The prints are being produced locally by Pegasus Prints in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg neighbourhood, which has worked with artists such as Elizabeth Peyton, Cecily Brown and Mel Bochner.
In Chicago, Devening Projects quickly raised $2,000 by selling a series of new Risograph prints by the Oakland-based artist David Ryan online for $75 each. The proceeds were donated to relief initiatives supporting restaurants, bars and arts organisations in the gallery’s immediate community that have been adversely impacted by sudden closures.
“It’s clear that so many of our most important nearby venues are suffering severely as a result of Covid-19,” says Dan Devening, the owner of the gallery, on Instagram. “These are the places that make our neighbourhood great by feeding us and employing our friends, colleagues, students and neighbours; we want to continue to support them anyway we can.”