Christie’s is delighted to support the Wedel Art Collective on Art to protect. Art to support., a charitable initiative to sell responsibly produced, , triple-layered cotton face masks in collaboration with six leading international artists: Jenny Holzer, Rashid Johnson, Barbara Kruger, Raymond Pettibon, Lorna Simpson and Rosemarie Trockel. Sold exclusively at MATCHESFASHION from $40 per mask, for a limited time only, the project draws upon the power of contemporary art to encourage more people to wear face masks to protect, and support.
All proceeds from sales are donated to charity, 50% to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, and 50% divided between two charities working to support artists suffering financially from the pandemic. Based in the US, Artist Relief is an emergency coalition of national grant-makers who joined forces to give grants to artists facing dire financial need. In the UK, Common Practice is a partnership between UK-based not-for-profit spaces - providing direct support to emerging artists during and after COVID via ongoing commissions and initiatives.
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Holzer’s face mask taps into the necessity of mask-wearing during the coronavirus pandemic, reading “You – Me”. “I like to think of my work as useful,” Holzer has said. “That is a recurrent impulse, when something happens in the world, if I have an idea that can be properly responsive. ... Not necessarily a cure or a solution but at least an offering.”
© Face mask by Jenny Holzer Courtesy Wedel Art Collective. Photo by: Zuumeo
About the lot
Jenny Holzer’s large-scale text works have redefined public art since the 1980s, encouraging viewers to pause and contemplate powerful statements such as “PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT” and “ANY SURPLUS IS IMMORAL”. Whether presented as projections and billboards or on stone benches and LED signs, her texts highlight the urgency of today’s most pressing issues.
The Broken Men works are the basis for Johnson’s mask, further breaking off a segment of an already fragmented soul. “To me the broken men are a stand-in for the human condition,” says Johnson, “the existential yearning, philosophical questions, the fight to survive with dignity… things that are always present but highlighted in times of crisis.”
© Face mask by Rashid Johnson. Courtesy Wedel Art Collective. Photo by: Zuumeo
Identity, appropriated everyday objects, black identity and a conceptual approach have been at the heart of Johnson’s practice since
the early 2000s, when the seminal Freestyle show at the Studio Museum, Harlem propelled his reputation internationally.
Kruger's face mask is made in her signature red, printed over with the words SIGN / LANGUAGE. The phrase evokes recurring themes in Kruger’s work: how our lives are shaped by speech and silence, signs and symbols. Its placement on a mask reflects the urgency of this critical moment and displays concerns about safety, danger and empathy.
© Face mask by Barbara Kruger. Courtesy Wedel Art Collective. Photo by: Zuumeo
Since the late 1970s, Barbara Kruger has created eye-catching works that consider the indelible effects of social, political and economic structures upon everyday lived experience.
Pettibon’s mask features Vavoom, a figure inspired by Felix the Cat that he has drawn since the mid-1980s. His voice, a superpower, holds the ability to reshape his environment, flattening forests and deflating mountains. Vavoom stands in sprawling, empty landscapes and shouts his name across the land - simultaneously a rallying cry and an existential shout into the void.
© Face mask by Raymond Pettibon. Courtesy Wedel Art Collective. Photo by: Zuumeo
Raymond Pettibon’s (b. 1957) influential oeuvre engages a wide spectrum of American iconography variously pulled from literature, art history, philosophy, religion, politics, sports, and alternative youth culture, among other sources
Simpson’s mask is based on a work she made in 2020 called Daydream. Describing the work, Simpson says, "Daydream 2020 is part of a series of monochromatic paintings titled Special Characters. The images in this series of paintings are created by layering several faces of women whose faces appear in Ebony magazine ads, culminating in surreal portraits.”
© Face mask by Lorna Simpson. Courtesy Wedel Art Collective. Photo by: Zuumeo
Born in Brooklyn, Lorna Simpson came to prominence in the late 1980s with her pioneering approach to conceptual photography. Simpson’s early work – particularly her striking juxtapositions of text and staged images – raised questions about the nature of representation, identity, gender, race and history that continue to drive the artist’s expanding and multi-disciplinary practice today.
Trockel’s mask comes in four different versions – each bearing the name portrait of different female role models who have featured in her work: political and philosophical theorist Hannah Arendt; singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone; novelist and screenwriter Marguerite Duras and the legendary American abstract painter Agnes Martin. Their names sit above the mouth, legible only from a distance of 1.5 – 2 meters and inviting conversation.
© Face mask by Rosemarie Trockel. Courtesy Wedel Art Collective. Photo by: Zuumeo
Blurring the boundaries between “feminine” craft and high art, Trockel first made her name showing paintings created with knitting machines, and has since worked with variety of media, including textiles, pottery, video and more
Wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
Wedel Art Collective face masks are made out of ethically produced, 100% cotton and are triple layered. Like all quality non-medical masks, we wear them to protect each other and reduce the overall environmental impact of single use masks. Each mask comes with its own pouch to protect it.
Both mask and pouch can be washed at 60 degrees Celsius, the temperature recommended by Britain’s NHS and other medical organisations for disinfecting fabrics. Hand-washing will keep the colours vibrant for longer. Masks should be ironed face down to avoid damage to the artist design.
Public health experts – including from governments, the U.S. CDC and WHO – recommend wearing masks when appropriate to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and in many places it is mandatory. Sustainable, reusable and washable masks are recommended for non-clinical use. Keep wearing a mask, physical distancing, washing your hands, staying away from big crowds and covering your mouth and nose every time you cough.
Wedel Art Collective is an initiative raising funds for not-for-profit organisations. Founded by art advisor Amelie von Wedel and her team at Wedel Art, Wedel Art Collective was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on the power of contemporary art and raising funds for international relief efforts and artist support.
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For over 250 years, Christie’s has the unique honour and privilege of stewarding great works of art with our clients, from one generation to another, across cultures and era. Today we continue to work closely with artists and the world’s leading art and cultural institutions.