ARTISTS AND GALLERIES have been donating portions of art sales, participating in charitable auctions, and producing special limited-editions to benefit artists and a variety of nonprofits since late March.

The efforts began to take root in response to economic and opportunity challenges that arose due to COVID-19 shutdowns and were amplified in late May when the nation’s attention shifted to the ever-present and now newly urgent issues of Black people being murdered by police, police reform, and racial justice.


SIMONE LEIGH, Detail and front views (3) of “Sentinel IV,” 2020 (bronze, 50.8 x 8.3 x 9.5 cm / 20 x 3 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches), Ed. of 25. | © Simone Leigh, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth


Simone Leigh is the latest artist to offer her work to drive change and uplift for Black people. Leigh created a new limited-edition bronze sculpture to benefit Color of Change. “Sentinel IV’ (2020) has been produced in an edition of 25. Each sculpture is $25,000 and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the online racial justice organization, the artist says. The work is being sold on the website of Hauser & Wirth Gallery beginning June 30.

“I am very excited to support Color of Change with this benefit work. As the largest online racial justice organization in the country, they are designed for this moment in history to help us win,” Leigh said in a statement.

“What I really love about their work is that they create campaigns powerful enough to end harmful television shows like Live PD and Cops as well as doing the important work on voting. Our Count is a voter mobilization movement led by Color Of Change that is focused on building Black political power, amplifying Black voices and making sure every Black vote counts. I’m thrilled to support work that will champion solutions that move us all forward.”

The practice of Brooklyn-based Leigh centers Black female subjectivity and is inspired by materials and forms associated with African and African American art, culture, and traditions. Her work “confronts and examines assumptions about the female body, race, beauty, and community.”

“I’m thrilled to support work that will champion solutions that move us all forward.” — Simone Leigh

THE LITHE SILHOUETTE of “Sentinel IV” was inspired by an object used in fertility rituals. The sculpture is 20 inches tall and depicts a female form with a spoon serving as her face. Hybrid forms combining the human figure with architectural forms and motifs that have historically appeared in West African and South African sculpture, functioning as ceremonial or spiritual objects.

Leigh’s contemporary approach is often realized by abstracting, minimizing or removing altogether the facial features on her sculptures as the works represent many ideas, histories, and experiences, rather than one individual.

“Sentinel IV” is derived from a large-scale “parent” sculpture currently on display at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles. (Temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the gallery re-opened to the public June 15.) The solo exhibition features new sculptures by Leigh, including “Sentinel IV.” The bronze sculpture stands more than 10 feet tall (128 inches). This version was produced in an edition of 3 with 2 artist proofs.


SIMONE LEIGH, Profile and alternate views (2) of “Sentinel IV,” 2020 (bronze, 50.8 x 8.3 x 9.5 cm / 20 x 3 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches), Ed. of 25. | © Simone Leigh, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth


The exhibition is Leigh’s first solo show following a whirlwind of activities and projects in 2018 and 2019. She won the Solomon R. Guggenheim’s 2018 Hugo Boss Prize, which was accompanied by an exhibition at the New York museum. “The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat” was on view from April to October 2019.

Leigh participated in the 2019 Whitney Biennial and “Brick House,” her inaugural commission for the High Line Plinth opened to the public in June 2019. The monumental public art work was unveiled the same month Leigh joined David Kordansky, but by the end of the year, she was working with Hauser & Wirth.

Now the artist is represented exclusively by Hauser & Wirth, which operates 13 locations around the world. Long-in-the-works, the current Kordansky exhibition moved forward as planned.

“Village Series” (2020), a unique work by Leigh was offered in Hauser & Wirth’s Art Basel online viewing room from June 17-June 26. The glazed stoneware sculpture is priced at $110,000. She is working on her first solo exhibition with the gallery. Not yet scheduled, it will be presented in London.

“Major social change has never happened without the voices and contributions of artists and cultural leaders.”
— Rashad Robinson, Color of Change

MOBILIZING ITS 1.7 MILLION MEMBERS, Color of Change seeks durable solutions to inequality and injustice. The group’s online strategies and campaigns empower African Americans to use their collective voices to move to action and hold accountable public officials, political leaders, and corporate decision makers. If Leigh’s benefit edition sells out, it will raise $625,000 for the organization.

“Color Of Change is thrilled to partner with Simone Leigh on this important fundraiser during such an important moment for racial justice in our country. Major social change has never happened without the voices and contributions of artists and cultural leaders,” Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, said in a statement.

“Simone’s work makes visible and palpable the subjectivity of Black women, whose experiences and leadership have always been central to struggles for liberation nationally and globally. We are honored that the sale of these incredible new art works will not only support our continued work, but will live as an example of the central role of artists in advancing justice and demanding a safer world for Black people.” CT


FIND MORE about Color of Change on its website


Simone Leigh contributed to “Fired Up! Ready to Go!: Finding Beauty, Demanding Equity: An African American Life in Art. The Collections of Peggy Cooper Cafritz.” The late Washington, D.C., collector was an early supporter of Leigh and her work.


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