Ed Aulerich-Sugai (1950–1994) was an Asian American artist, writer, gardener, and AIDS activist. Primarily a representational painter, he drew inspiration from traditional Japanese mythology and iconography, which he transformed through a contemporary lens. A quarter-century after Aulerich-Sugai's death from AIDS complications, his work stands as a unique document of his seven years living with the disease. The oeuvre includes journals, paintings, and works on paper spanning the artist’s career from the 1970s through the last months of his life. KunstWorks is collaborating with his former partners to provide public access to this important body of work through museum exhibitions and acquisitions.
KunstWorks led the effort to launch a foundation dedicated to the German American artist Carl Heidenreich (1901–1965). A student of Hans Hofmann in Germany, Heidenreich was an important contributor to the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York, where he was the only artist in the circle of German refugees around Hannah Arendt. KunstWorks Principal Alla Efimova is executive director of the Carl Heidenreich Foundation, which supports the artist’s legacy through a variety of initiatives, including exhibitions, loans of artworks, research and publication, conservation, and educational programs for the public and the scholarly community.
PHOTO by JEANNIE O'CONNOR
Jeannie O'Connor Photo Archive
In the 1990s, photographer Jeannie O'Connor produced portraits within several communities, including people living with HIV and AIDS, residents of the West Berkeley Senior center, and elderly African Americans who had migrated from the South to the Bay Area. She used a 4 x 5 camera with Polaroid film and handed the pneumatic shutter-release bulb to the sitters so they could choose the timing and the pose; the sitters kept the instantly available prints while O'Connor kept the negatives. KunstWorks arranged for hundreds of O’Connor’s negatives from the AIDS series to be acquired by the San Francisco Public Library. These will be digitized as part of an NEH-funded project, creating a lasting legacy of a lost community. KunstWorks is currently working to place the other series in public institutions.
PHOTO by STEFANO PORCINAI
Betty Woodman Estate
KunstWorks is advising the Betty Woodman Estate on preserving the legacies of three artists: Betty, her husband, George, and their daughter, Francesca. Betty Woodman (1930–2018) was well known as a ceramic artist; her 2006 retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was the institution’s first for a living female artist. George (1932–2017) was a painter and photographer who taught painting and art criticism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Francesca Woodman (1958–1981) is known for enigmatic, often blurred, black-and-white photographs featuring the artist or other female models. Since her death by suicide, Francesca’s work has been exhibited widely, receiving critical acclaim, and was the subject of a 2006 Phaidon monograph. A feature-length documentary about the family, The Woodmans, was released by Lorber Films in 2011.
Moira Roth Archive
Pioneering art historian and author Moira Roth (b. 1933),Professor Emerita of art history at Mills College, has researched, written, and taught extensively on feminist art, Asian American artists and performance art. KunstWorks is placing her professional papers—comprising correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, rare art and feminist publications, audiovisual documentation of performances and artist interviews, unique photographic documentation of artworks and performances, and course development notes—with a major visual arts archive. KunstWorks is also working with Roth to publish her experimental novel tracing the life of a fictional protagonist who witnessed firsthand the major events in twentieth-century European history.
Groundbreaking artist Sonya Rapoport (1923–2015) left a sixty-six-year legacy that includes works in a variety of media, including paintings, works on paper, performance artifacts, books, videos, and web art. After receiving an MA in painting from UC Berkeley in 1949, she had early success as an Abstract Expressionist. In the late 1960s, she turned to Conceptual art, performance, and installation and in the 1970s was one of the first artists to embrace computer technology. Her work was included in over fifty major exhibitions in her lifetime, including Documenta 8 (1987), Violence without Bodies (2005) at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Since the artist’s death, in collaboration with the Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust and Terri Cohn Art Services, KunstWorks has placed her work in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Mills College Art Museum. We are facilitating the inclusion of Rapoport’s work in upcoming group exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The David Ireland House at 500 Capp Street in San Francisco, and other venues.
Eli Leon Collection of African American Quilts
Psychologist Eli Leon (1935–2018) was a passionate collector of quilts. He amassed a major collection of contemporary African American quilts—the only one of its kind—and championed their makers, including Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936–2006). Leon intended for this important collection to be placed in major U.S. museums after his death, so that that the quilts would be accessible to the public and available for academic study. Kunstworks is advising the Leon estate on managing the collection in preparation for the quilts entering museum collections.
The Estate of Carole Doyle Peel
Carole Doyle Peel (1934–2016) combined an appreciation for classical and Old Master painting and drawing with contemporary subjects. KunstWorks organized a memorial exhibition at Kala Art Institute in April 2017 and placed important examples of Peel's work in the collections of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) and George Washington University Art Galleries. In addition, we helped establish a scholarship fund at the California College of the Arts, where Peel taught for nearly five decades, and an acquisition fund for works on paper at BAMPFA in Peel's name. Joint project with Terri Cohn Art Services.