Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), the arts grant-making organization founded in 1963 by Jasper Johns and John Cage that provides grants to artists, is pleased to announce its fifteenth benefit exhibition, 65 Works Selected By James Welling: Exhibition and Sale to Benefit the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, opening December 9, 2016 at David Zwirner in Chelsea. Artist James Welling was invited to select and curate this exhibition and he will oversee its installation. A list of participating artists is below. The works will be offered for sale (not auction); proceeds will directly benefit FCA's grant programs.
65 Works celebrates the extraordinary dedication of artists to supporting their peers from FCA’s first exhibition in 1963 to today. Over the past fifty-three years, nearly 1,000 artists have contributed work to periodic benefit exhibitions to support FCA's grantmaking programs for individual artists. Artists have generously allowed FCA to keep unsold works for future sale to benefit its programs. Welling has selected forty-nine works from this rich collection, and a further sixteen new works have been contributed by artists at Welling's invitation. Welling writes:
When I was eighteen I saw the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Pittsburgh. Like for so many others, this was a lifechanging event. After seeing Merce perform, I studied dance for a year in Pittsburgh and in Hartford.
Although I chose photography as my primary medium, my dance experiences were deeply affecting. Three years ago, when I began to use dance imagery in a new series of photographs, I felt that I was returning to a lost love. As I photographed different dance companies I became aware of the financial precariousness of the performance arts. It is an honor to select works for the Foundation for Contemporary Arts show and sale to benefit the arts community.
Looking at the range of FCA’s holdings starting from the early 1960s to the present, I was excited by the possibility of juxtaposing a range of artistic practices and generations. For instance, I was intrigued by including Paul Brach, who was the Dean at Cal Arts when I was a student there in the early 1970s, with younger artists whom I taught when I was at UCLA. To augment and bring the show and sale up to the present, I reached out to sixteen artists to contribute new works.
—James Welling, November 2016
FCA's mission is to encourage, sponsor, and promote innovative work in the arts created and presented by individuals, groups, and organizations. Its "artists for artists" legacy continues today with Grants to Artists, unrestricted, by-nomination grants supporting pioneering work across the fields of dance, music/sound, performance art/theater, poetry, and the visual arts. In addition to vital financial assistance, grantees receive the inestimable encouragement that comes with recognition from their peers. Emergency Grants are also made to assist artists with last-minute expenses and unexpected opportunities related to their work. Since 1963, over 2,600 grants to artists and arts organizations–totaling nearly $12 million–have provided opportunities for creative exploration and the realization of new work. The current Directors of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts are: Cecily Brown, Anthony B. Creamer III, Robert Gober, Anne Dias Griffin, Agnes Gund, Jasper Johns, Julian Lethbridge, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, and T.J. Wilcox. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.