Some of the best places to buy art for a good cause

During the pandemic, buying art delivers the double whammy of donating to charity and owning a work by artists including Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley and Chantal Joffe


As lockdown extends from weeks into months, the stream of charitable initiatives to help those adversely affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis continues. More and more artists and galleries are joining forces either to offer individual artworks or mount online exhibitions to benefit a range of good causes connected with the impact of the coronavirus. A pandemic may seem like a strange time to begin collecting art but if a purchase delivers the double whammy of making a charitable donation and owning a great work, then why not?

Antony Gormley, Together (2020) © the artist. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis)

White Cube and Antony Gormley: Together

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The psychological as well as the physical damage caused by the Covid-19 crisis is now well known, and Antony Gormley has chosen this week, which is Mental Health Awareness Week, to launch a limited edition print to support both mental health awareness charities and food banks. Together presents a series of six silhouetted figures originally created out of a single pool of coffee. “These open silhouettes suggest human spaces in space. They touch each other; the touch of others, so important to us, is denied during this time of isolation”, Gormley says, who feels that the work’s genesis from a single puddle of coffee “runs through the bodies and, like blood, pools, coagulates and dries.” The photopolymer gravure print comes in an edition of 250 priced at £2,000 each. All proceeds go to One to One Project, The Trussell Trust and Together for Mental Wellbeing, three charities which support people suffering the physical, psychological and emotional consequences of lockdown.

Heather Agyepong, Le Cake-Walk: F.U.B.U. from the series Wish You Were Here (2020) © the artists; courtesy of James Hyman Gallery

In Sickness and in Health: James Hyman Gallery

Online exhibition here

To also coincide with Mental Health Awareness week James Hyman Gallery has opened In Sickness and In Health, a three-artist online exhibition that addresses physical and mental wellbeing with 10% of sales going to Mind, the mental health charity. The show of work by Joe Spence, Heather Agyepong and Anna Fox runs until 19 June and was originally intended for the cancelled Paris Photo New York Fair in March, however it has taken on new resonance in the present global crisis. Prices range from £2,200 for an individual work by Heather Agypong to £14,000 for a rare and unique example from Jo Spence’s Phototherapy series from the 1980s.

Damien Hirst, Butterfly Rainbow (2020) Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020

Damien Hirst: Rainbow Prints

Available through Heni Editions here

Damien Hirst is already offering free downloadable versions of his rainbow and heart posters made from bands of butterfly wings, and now he is releasing these images as a pair of prints, which are available for a limited time to support NHS Charities Together and London-based charity The Felix Project. Butterfly Rainbow and Butterfly Heart come in two sizes and are priced at £300 and £1,000 respectively, with 100% of the proceeds going to the two charities. Hirst’s laminated giclée prints are available to buy through Heni Editions until the cut-off point of 28 May. “I wanted to do something to support the many people who are risking their lives to help those in need during this time of crisis,” Hirst says. “The rainbow is a sign of hope and I’m so pleased to release these prints to help fund the brilliant work being done by NHS staff across the country, and to raise money for The Felix Project, who are ensuring food is delivered across London to those who need it the most.”

Fluorescent Smogg's online exhibition The Dividing Line © Fluorescent Smogg

Fluorescent Smogg: The Dividing Line

Online exhibition here, opening 22 May

Sickboy is best known as one of the UK’s leading street artists who came out of the Bristol graffiti scene. Now he is using the latest in 3-D rendering to launch a virtual art gallery, which goes by the name of Fluorescent Smogg and which this week is unveiling a mixed group show of multimedia works by around 14 artists including Ralph Steadman, Gasius and Adam Neate, as well as his own work, all set within dreamlike digitally constructed surroundings. The show is called The Dividing Line and 10% of the sale proceeds will be donated to the charity Mind.

CB Hoyo's Losing My Shit (2020)

Unit London: Drawn Together

Online exhibition here, opening 4 June

Maggi Hambling, Chantal Joffe, CB Hoyo, Rob and Nicky Carter are among the artists committed to Drawn Together, Unit London’s first online show of more than 100 works on paper to raise funds for frontline staff and vulnerable communities worldwide. The show runs from 4 June-12 July with 100% of the gallery proceeds and more than 50% of all artist proceeds pledged directly to the show’s two charitable partners, Médecins sans frontières and World Vision.

Anish Kapoor's Red Beginning (2012-20) © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 Photo:

UNO Flüchtlingshilfe. Heart: 100 artists, One Mission

Tickets for the art lottery are available here

The plight of refugee populations at the sharp end of the coronavirus pandemic makes the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) more crucial than ever. In recognition of this, 100 artists, including many major names, have made new work for a fundraising art lottery to support the UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe, the German arm of the UN Agency. Rose Wylie, Anish Kapoor, Simon Fujiwara, Katharina Grosse, Olafur Eliasson and Jenny Holzer are among those who have contributed a work to Heart: 100 artists, One Mission, the first ever nationwide, state-approved art lottery to be held in Germany. The brief for each artist was to produce a unique two-dimensional A5-sized work and 25,000 lottery tickets have now gone on sale at €40 apiece. Before the draw on 26 November, all 100 works will be displayed from September in a show touring the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Berlinische Galerie. (Speculators beware, there is a strict stipulation that once won, prizes may not be resold or auctioned off until 31 December 2025).

An Andy Warhol vintage invite postcard print from 1983 Konrad Wyrebek Collection


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Bids are also now open for Art&Co, a wide-ranging online charity auction organised by the UK-based finance company PremFina. Art & Co is offering work by more that 30 emerging international artists—most of whom do not have gallery representation—together with pieces by Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, which have been offered by a young collector. The sale of 247 lots has been divided up into different sections that will be closing at different times, ending on 19 June with reserve auction prices ranging from £1,000 to £36,000. After the deduction of a small base fee set by the artists, and £100 per lot administration costs, the majority of the proceeds of each sale will be divided between the following six frontline charities and NGO’s that address immediate and long-term effects of coronavirus: The Care Workers Charity, Khalsa Aid, ICU Steps, Painting Our World In Silver, Solace Women’s Aid and Za Teb.

Rose Wylie's King John (2015) Courtesy of the artist

Covid Creation Capsule

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Artists including Juergen Teller, David Shrigley, Rose Wylie, Eileen Cooper and Ian Davenport are among the donors to Covid Creation Capsule, a charitable online auction to raise funds for Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation. Some, including Davenport who is contributing a unique acrylic painting on paper and a silk-bound artist’s book, have made work especially for the auction. The foundation supports relief efforts across the UK, including supplying PPE and medical devices to healthcare workers as well as supporting the health and wellbeing of many individuals, especially those who are homeless, suffering from domestic abuse and mental health conditions. Lockdown may be easing but the coronavirus crisis is still very much with us, and support for frontline health workers and the most vulnerable members of our society continues to be urgently needed. Bidding for the auction closes at 10pm on 28 June.