Christie’s Will Sell Works by Dana Schutz, Nicolas Party, and Other Contemporary Art Stars to Benefit the NYC AIDS Memorial

The fundraiser marks the memorial's 10th anniversary.

Dana Schutz, Smokers 2021. Image courtesy the artist and Christie's.
Dana Schutz, Smokers 2021. Image courtesy the artist and Christie's.

A dream team of contemporary art stars are pitching in to help raise money for the New York City AIDS Memorial via a series of special sales at Christie’s in the coming weeks. 

“UNQUESTIONING LOVE: An Auction to Benefit the New York City AIDS Memorial” will offer a group of 19 artworks, sold as part of two live sales in New York this November. Sixteen of the lots are in the auction house’s postwar and contemporary art day sale, while two works will be featured in the marquee 21st century evening sale on November 9.

The two evening sale lots were both created specifically by the artists to support the memorial and the organization’s mission. They are Nicolas Party’s Landscape (2021) (estimate: $300,000 to $500,000) and Dana Schutz’s Smokers (2021) (estimate: $400,000 to $600,000).

The organizers have reason to believe that the latter could do well for the cause: Schutz recently donated The Fisherman (2021), a painting from a body of new work that was shown at Frieze New York in May, to a Christie’s auction benefiting the land conservation charity Art Into Acres. There, it soared past the high $600,000 estimate to sell for $2.9 million—the second highest price at auction for the artist.

“The work of the New York City AIDS Memorial is necessary, as is honoring the memory of so many lost to the epidemic. I am proud to be donating this work to ensure their stories continue to be told,” Schutz said in a statement.

Nicolas Party,Landscape (2021). Image courtesty the artist and Christie's.

Nicolas Party,Landscape (2021). Image courtesty the artist and Christie’s.

Nicolas Party was also quoted: “So many talented artists—a whole generation of mentors—were lost to AIDS,” he said, adding that it is an “honor” to donate work.

Meanwhile, the 16 artworks in the day sale represent a cross-section of contemporary art stars across a range of disciplines, with works by Elmgreen & Dragset, Sam Gilliam, the Haas Brothers, Jim Hodges, Shara Hughes, KAWS, Rashid Johnson, Trevor Paglen, Adam Pendleton, Ugo Rondinone, Sarah Sze, Salman Toor, Jonas Wood, and Lisa Yuskavage, Many of these works were also made especially for the event.

The sale will also include works by Robert Mapplethorpe and Keith Haring, both of which were donated by the artists’ estates. 

Jonas Wood, Mini Purple Bball Orchid (2021). Image courtesy the artist and Christie's.

Jonas Wood, Mini Purple Bball Orchid (2021). Image courtesy the artist and Christie’s.

The proceeds of “UNQUESTIONING LOVE,” which arrives as the New York City AIDS Memorial celebrates the 10th anniversary of its founding and the 5th anniversary of its public dedication, will help create “a vital and strategic fund” that will ensure the preservation of the memorial’s physical space and bolster arts, cultural, and educational programs.

The AIDS Memorial honors the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died of the disease and acknowledges the contributions of caregivers and activists who united to provide care for those affected as well as to fight discrimination, lobby for medical research, and alter the drug approval process.   

Sarah Sze, Fast Forward Image courtesy the artist and Christie's.

Sarah Sze, Fast Forward Image courtesy the artist and Christie’s.

“Ten years ago, a small group of volunteers was inspired to build a memorial to honor the 100,000 New Yorkers who died from this disease,” said Keith Fox, chair of the AIDS Memorial board in a statement. “The Memorial could not have been built without contributions from artists and the art world.”

In total, the sales are expected to generate approximately $1.8 million to $2.8 million. The estimate for the day sale works is $1.1 million to $1.6 million, while the evening sale works total roughly $700,000 to $1.1 million.

“UNQUESTIONING LOVE” will be on view to the public beginning Saturday, October 30 at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters in New York.


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