NEW YORK, February 14, 2023 — In celebration of Black History Month, the leading online art marketplace, Artsy, and Fairchain, a platform bringing increased equity and trust to art transactions, announce Artsy Impact Auction: Black History Month Focus, Presented with Fairchain, a collaboratively curated impact auction, featuring exclusive works created by a diverse group of talented Black artists Alteronce Gumby, Jewel Ham, Devin B. Johnson, Nate Lewis, Simphiwe Ndzube, Anya Paintsil, Ferrari Sheppard, and Qualeasha Wood. The auction will take place from February 21 to 28 exclusively on Artsy, and backed by Fairchain digital certificates of title and authenticity, with a preview period beginning on February 14. As part of Artsy and Fairchain’s mission to build an equitable future for all artists, a portion of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Fifteen Percent Pledge, which works to create sustainable and supportive ecosystems for Black-owned businesses and Black people in the workforce.
Featured in the auction are works that explore themes of identity, personal history, bodily autonomy, the genesis of life and more, including textile arts pieces such as Braiding Hair Cloak (2022) by Anya Paintsil and Memory Leak (2023) by Qualeasha Wood; mixed media works Shamrock After School (2023) by Alteronce Gumby and signaling/send (2021) by Nate Lewis; and paintings including To Be a Man is to Blossom (2023) by Devin B. Johnson, Love Song for Lucinda (2023) by Ferrari Sheppard and Native of the Mine-Moon by Simphiwe Ndzube.
Commenting on the auction, Brooke Wise, Artsy’s Impact Auction Specialist, said “We’re thrilled to get the chance to work with these eight incredible Black artists who are paving a path to create a more inclusive, diverse, and socially-engaged art world. This auction and our partnership with Fairchain and Fifteen Percent Pledge perfectly align with our mission to create a more equitable art market and we’ve worked closely with each artist to create a campaign that not only shines a light on their art and activism, but also keeps them involved in the sale of their work to ensure they’re getting the due they deserve.”
Artsy and Fairchain’s collaboration presents a powerful stance in favor of sustainable, thoughtful, and meaningful support of creative communities. Through Fairchain, the auction allows artists to establish a resale commission rate for their artwork so they can maintain an economic stake in every future sale of the work. Fairchain’s digital certificates of title and authenticity protect collectors from forgeries and disputes, ensure each artwork’s inclusion in an artist’s catalogue raisonné, and create an immutable record of the provenance and narrative behind every work, protecting its value for decades to come. In the event of any future resale, collectors will direct a modest resale commission to the artist to support their ongoing practice. Every artwork transacted on Fairchain can be traced back to the artist’s studio and is a step towards a more equitable and sustainable art ecosystem.
“I think the uniqueness of this auction; in its model, ethics, and function behaves differently than the typical artist auction where artists rarely have control or input themselves. The Fifteen Percent Pledge calls to action brands that overlook Black communities but profit from our consumption, so bringing this work to the partnership felt like an opportunity to be in conversation with others considering autonomy and consumption in and beyond the art world. I often ask myself the question, “in what ways can my practice make a tangible difference within my community?” and am constantly looking for opportunities to do so. This has always been an important piece of my practice, and I’m fortunate to be aligned with an opportunity that considers deeply the practice of artists and the impacts that can be made,” said participating artist Qualeasha Woods. “Learning about Fairchain’s aim towards equitable infrastructure and autonomy for artists and the ability to have a record/accountability for collectors was also a highlight for me. There is a lot of good faith that must be exercised when forming connections with collectors, and as we look at the hyper consumption of Black art at this moment in time, it is great to have an added layer of security that protects artists and secures our futures. I was also recently featured in The Artsy Vanguard, so it’s encouraging as well to see Artsy’s Impact channel offer actions for Black History Month beyond representation.”
Discussing the auction, Charlie Jarvis, Co-Founder of Fairchain and auction co-curator, said: “At Fairchain, our goal is to center artists – as entrepreneurs, creators, and rights holders. We hope to create an art market that’s more supportive of the visionary artists creating the market in the first place – with patronage being not just a one-off act of beneficence, but a structural practice. We believe that collecting artwork can and should be intrinsically tied to being a patron of the artists behind those works. The magic of this collaboration is that Fifteen Percent Pledge and Artsy are also working to build sustainable and ultimately overdue standards for creative support and access in their respective industries. Protecting artists, or supporting Black businesses, can’t be an afterthought or a one-off endeavor. Better practices at the infrastructure level is how we make fundamental, life-changing and sustainable change. I feel lucky that Fairchain, Fifteen Percent Pledge and Artsy are working together to catalyze this impact.”
“I know first hand the difficult barriers that Black artists have to overcome to have their voices heard and their art be celebrated,” said Aurora James, founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge. “The Pledge is thrilled to partner with Artsy and Fairchain to not only uplift the incredible work of Black creatives, but to work toward implementing long-term change and equity throughout the art market.”
Artsy is dedicated to promoting diverse voices and artworks by emerging and world-renowned artists who address critical issues of our time. Artsy’s Impact Auctions empower artists to sell their own work and donate a portion or all of the proceeds to a cause they believe in, thus allowing for potential tax benefits and the ability to act as their own philanthropic agents of change. Through Artsy Auctions, the company works directly with galleries and their artists to produce exclusive auction 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.
For more information on the auction, visit www.artsy.net/bhm
Artsy is the largest global online marketplace for discovering, buying, and selling fine art by leading artists. Artsy connects 4,000+ galleries, auction houses, art fairs, and institutions from 100% countries with millions of global art collectors and art lovers across 190+ countries. Artsy makes purchasing art welcoming, transparent and low-friction with industry-leading technology that connects supply and demand safely and securely at a global scale. Launched in 2012, Artsy is headquartered in New York City with offices in London and Berlin. Learn more at https://www.artsy.net/
Fairchain is a title management, authentication, and transaction platform in service of a more equitable, sustainable, and secure art market. A community-accountable tool built to support and sustain the creative professionals who enrich our lives, Fairchain’s secure digital certificates of title and authenticity allow artists and galleries to benefit from the secondary markets they create while protecting collectors from forgeries and disputes. Learn more at https://www.fairchain.art/
ABOUT THE FIFTEEN PERCENT PLEDGE
The Fifteen Percent Pledge is a racial equity and economic justice non-profit advocacy organization urging major retailers and corporations to commit 15% of their purchasing power to Black-owned businesses. The Pledge also offers large corporations accountability support and thought partnership to advance equal opportunity for Black-owned businesses and Black people in the workforce.
Launched in 2020 by Aurora James, the initiative was born from seeing multiple acts of social injustice and police brutality in the United States, with a lack of accountability for the systemic issues at play. Businesses including Macy’s Inc. Gap Inc. Sephora, Rent the Runway, West Elm, Vogue Magazine and more have all committed to the Fifteen Percent Pledge. Learn more at www.15percentpledge.org
Banner Image Credit: Devin B. Johnson, To Be a Man is to Blossom, 2023. Courtesy of Nicodim Gallery and Devin B. Johnson.