CHINESE ART INDUSTRY LAUNCHES CHARITY AUCTIONS TO AID COVID-19 RESPONSE
By Lauren Long
As attempts to contain Covid-19 continue in China, where many population centers are in lockdown, members of the country’s art industry have initiated charity auctions to support disease-control efforts.
Shanghai’s private How Art Museum, in partnership with the fair ART021 and the Modern Media group, will hold auctions on the online platform Yitiao on March 2–4. All proceeds of “Standing Together Through Thick and Thin: A Charity Auction to Combat the Epidemic” will benefit the public-welfare NGO Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation, which will use the funds to purchase disease-prevention supplies such as face masks and disinfectant for 80 primary schools in infected areas. The auction series comprises one sale of limited-edition collectibles and lithographs, and two dedicated to contemporary art, with lots donated by the How Art Museum, 80 Chinese and international art institutions and galleries, and more than 100 artists. Highlights of the first sale include Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dogs collectibles (2015) and prints by Takashi Murakami, whereas the contemporary art sales will feature sculptures and paintings by major contemporary Chinese artists such as Xu Bing, Zhang Dali, Gu Wenda, and Zhang Xiaogang.
The auction house China Guardian is also holding a charity sale with more than 150 lots consigned via an online call for donations of works and new artist commissions. In addition to contemporary pieces by the likes of Cai Guoqiang, Chen Ke, Yue Minjun, and Xu Zhen, furniture and fine Chinese paintings and calligraphy are also going on the block. The sale, which opened on February 25 and closes March 3, is expected to raise CNY 5 million (USD 711,880), with proceeds going to the nonprofit Dongrun Foundation, which supports front-line medical staff in infected areas. Earlier in February, the auction house donated CNY 1 million (USD 142,900) through the foundation to medical staff in Hubei province.
On February 7, Shanghai Auction achieved CNY 2.96 million (USD 422,200) with a 45-lot charity sale on its WeChat auction platform. The money helped the Shanghai Charity Foundation purchase face masks and medical protective clothing for hospitals. Meanwhile, Beijing’s Huachen Auctions brought in a total of CNY 2.15 million (USD 307,500) over a series of four online contemporary art and calligraphy sales since February 10, with proceeds donated to medical staff in Wuhan, where the first cases of Covid-19 surfaced in December. Preparations are currently underway for a fifth sale according to its WeChat post on February 27.
Other art organizations have also made donations to support China’s Covid-19 response. Poly Auction donated CNY 36 million (USD 5.1 million) on February 5 to the Wuhan municipal government in aid of its construction of new hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients. The founder of Shanghai’s Long Museum, Liu Yiqian, donated CNY 30 million (USD 4.3 million) to the Hubei Charity Federation, while his company Guohua Life Insurance has pledged to disburse CNY 200,000 (USD 28,000) for every front-line medical worker in Hubei.
Since Covid-19 first broke out in Wuhan, Hubei, the disease has spread across six continents. More than 83,000 cases and 2,800 deaths globally have been confirmed at time of writing.
Lauren Long is ArtAsiaPacific’s news and web editor.
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