At KunstWorks we advocate for stewarding legacies of significant and diverse modern and contemporary artists and artists’ estates. We delight in uncovering brilliant collections and archives that have been tucked away in drawers, crates, and bins. We take pride in bringing the artists’ stories to life and their work to new audiences. We make sure their legacies continue to be recognized by the best museums and public collections in the nation. At a time when artists and their contribution to American democracy are devalued, we double our efforts to preserve the history of rebellious and thoughtful artistic practices. As the year is drawing to a close, here are some of the stories we want to share.
At the time when Nazis, fascists, and white supremacists are emboldened to march on our streets, we work with those whose memories of resistance and survival of atrocities in 20th century Europe are still real and visceral.
Carl Heidenreich Foundation
The German exile painter Carl Heidenreich (1901-1965) is known for anti-fascist political activities in Germany and Francoist Spain. After escaping to New York, Heidenreich was the only artist in the circle of German refugees around Hannah Arendt. KunstWorks recently interviewed collectors and advocates of Heidenreich's work in a series of conversations about the artist's legacy in the United States. The Carl Heidenreich Foundation also acquired three rare, early paintings from a German collector, whose father saved the life of Heidenreich's Jewish wife in Berlin during WWII. Learn how a group of German refugees saved Heidenreich’s work
Moira Roth, Author
A feminist art historian and author, Moira Roth (b. 1933, England) spent fifteen years writing an experimental novel based on the experience of a fictional protagonist, Rachel Marker, who witnessed 20th century European history. From Zurich in 1914 to Spain 1937 to Paris in 1939, Rachel Marker gives us a first-hand account of historical events. KunstWorks is working with Roth on publishing this fascinating book—an homage to those who lived through the world wars. Discover the book’s real and fictional protagonists
At the time when affordable healthcare is becoming a class privilege, we work with artists who witnessed and documented the AIDS crisis in America.
Jeannie O'Connor Photo Archive
In the early 1990s, photographer Jeannie O'Connor was invited to be a guest artist at four Bay Area AIDS centers. She worked with HIV-positive clients and their families to take self-portraits, for many of them final, with a 4x5 camera using Polaroid film. O'Connor handed the pneumatic shutter-release bulb to the sitters, so they could choose the timing and the pose. The portrait sitters kept the instantly available prints while O'Connor kept the negatives. 365 negatives have now become an important visual testament to the diversity of lives lost. Learn about the Bay Area’s major AIDS archives digitization project
Estate of Ed Aulerich-Sugai
Asian American artist Ed Aulerich-Sugai (1950-1994) was strongly influenced by his Japanese heritage and the experience of living with AIDS. Aulerich-Sugai's treatment of bodily fragility is balanced with his assertion of life. The artist's work, including paintings and works on paper, is a unique document of living with HIV and AIDS. Two of the artist's works were recently acquired by the Berkeley Art Museum and will be included in the exhibition in 2018. Discover events near you on December 1, Day With(out) Art 2017
At the time when women are raising their voices to expose pervasive harassment and systemic discrimination, we work with artists who persisted and succeeded in the art world in spite of being marginalized.
Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust
Sonya Rapoport's (1923-2015) artist career consistently defied stereotypes and expectations. She had the courage to compete in the male-dominated fields, including Abstract Expressionism, Computer Art, and SciArt. This year we worked to add Rapoport's pioneering work to the permanent collections of the Berkeley Art Museum and SFMOMA. Joint project with Terri Cohn Art Services. Learn about Rapoport’s unique collaborations in Performa Magazine
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. Since, we placed important examples of Peel's work in the collections of the Berkeley Art Museum and George Washington University Art Galleries. In addition, we helped establish a scholarship fund at CCA, 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. Read the fully illustrated monograph by Helen Frierson