Artsy to Auction new Stanley Whitney painting to benefit reproductive rights and criminal justice reform

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Artsy to Auction new Stanley Whitney painting to benefit reproductive rights and criminal justice reform
Stanley Whitney, The Freedom We Fight For, 2022. Oil on linen, 80 x 80 inches (203.2 x 203.2 cm) © Stanley Whitney / Photo: Rob McKeever / Courtesy Gagosian.

NEW YORK, NY.- Artsy and Gagosian, announced today the launch of “Artsy Spotlight Auction: Stanley Whitney, in Support of the Art for Justice Fund and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.” This single-lot benefit auction, held exclusively on Artsy from September 27–October 7, 2022, is devoted to a new work by acclaimed artist Stanley Whitney, titled The Freedom We Fight For (2022), estimated at $700,000–$900,000. All proceeds from the sale will support the urgent fights for decarceration and criminal justice reform, and reproductive rights in the United States, respectively, by the Art for Justice Fund and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.

Artist Stanley Whitney commented, “The Freedom We Fight For is a reflection of what’s going on politically in our country and is designed to make an impact for Art for Justice and Planned Parenthood. These organizations are fighting for such critical issues that deserve everyone’s attention and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to support them through this auction with Artsy and Gagosian.”

The Freedom We Fight For is an eighty-square-inch oil-on-linen abstract painting that underscores Stanley Whitney’s intuitive facility as a colorist. Pieced together from rectilinear fields of red, yellow, green, blue, orange, brown, black, and gray divided by horizontal bands of red, blue, and teal, its “stacked” composition, translucent layers of paint, and energetic brushwork effectively deconstruct the modernist grid. Whitney draws inspiration from Greek and Mediterranean ceramics and the juxtaposition of ancient and modern Roman architecture. As the strident title of the painting suggests, Whitney’s practice is also informed by other, more political ideas: The Freedom We Fight For follows an earlier series titled No to Prison Life that was prompted by his reading of Blood in the Water, Heather Ann Thompson’s account of the 1971 Attica Prison uprising. The new work will be displayed at Gagosian’s Park & 75 location in New York City from September 27–October 7, 2022.

“On the heels of his presentation at Palazzo Tiepolo Passi, we are honored to support Stanley’s tremendous generosity to donate one of his paintings to this great cause. We hope that our resources and collective effort will continue to benefit organizations that are important to the gallery’s community of artists and advocates,” said Ashley Stewart, Director at Gagosian.

“At Artsy, we have a history of supporting nonprofits while working directly with artists and their galleries to champion crucial issues of our time and push the industry forward. We’re extremely proud to work alongside Stanley Whitney and Gagosian to support the Art for Justice Fund and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York on such important issues and raise meaningful funds for their respective organizations,” commented Dustyn Kim, Chief Revenue Officer at Artsy.

“Every person deserves the power to control their own body and future, free of state-sanctioned oppression and prosecution. We are at a crisis point in our country where abortion bans are trapping women and birthing people in the criminal justice system. Art for Justice is an incredible organization fighting for criminal justice reform on behalf of the same communities that turn to Planned Parenthood of Greater New York for compassionate health care—and abortion is health care. We are honored to be a beneficiary partner with Art for Justice, and grateful to Stanley Whitney for creating this masterpiece and aligning it with our shared values and vision for a more inclusive and equitable future,” said Keith Corso, Chief Development Officer at Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.

“For Stanley Whitney to allocate proceeds from the sale of The Freedom We Fight For to Art for Justice and Planned Parenthood is incredible. It’s an inspired act of generosity and hopefulness that allows art to become a tool for ending mass incarceration and safeguarding reproductive justice. It enables us to better understand how these two issues are linked. People of color and poor people are already disproportionately represented in our criminal legal system, and they are the ones who suffer the most from these regressive abortion policies. Similarly, Planned Parenthood plays an irreplaceable role and is sometimes the singular source of access to reproductive care in the lives of many,” said Helena Huang, Project Director at the Art for Justice Fund.

Artsy is dedicated to promoting diverse voices and artworks by emerging and world-renowned artists who address critical issues of our time. Through Artsy Auctions, the company works directly with galleries and their artists to produce exclusive sales that are visited by millions of Artsy’s collectors and art lovers across the world. By leveraging the vast reach of its marketplace, alongside its charity partners for each initiative, Artsy is committed to help drive social change and uplift the creative community and next generation of artists. Over the past two years, Artsy Auctions have raised over $25 million for charitable causes.

Artsy is uniquely positioned to increase liquidity in the market through its vast network of market-leading art businesses; aggregation of nearly 1 million in-demand artworks for sale by 100,000 artists; industry-leading technology; investment in its auctions organization; and relationships with leading galleries and artists.

Benefit auctions such as this have not only been instrumental in growing Artsy’s business, but also in helping to drive forward social change and spotlight underrepresented communities. A recent example is Artsy’s landmark 2021 sale of Julie Mehretu’s Dissident Score for $6.5 million—setting a new record for the artist, and raising proceeds for the Art for Justice Fund to support its ongoing efforts to end mass incarceration and transform the criminal justice system.

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