This lot has no reserve.
In the early 1960's I opened my gallery - Guggenheim Gallery at 17 Hay Hill, Berkeley Square in London. Here artists from Russia and the iron curtain countries could exhibit work that was not in the then acceptable representational manner. There was an outlet here for their original even daring abstract expression.
It is today an anachronism that art would be censored and that artists would be told indeed instructed to paint in a certain way and portray certain subjects.
It may have stifled the art, but not the artist as their creative and often brilliant work so inspiringly displays. Their pure talent was sufficient to give them hope and inspiration that art was created by originality that evolved freely and could not be stifled by edict or conformity.
I dedicate this auction to the spirit of these courageous artists in hopes that freedom of creativity shall be governed only by originality and creative expression. I also dedicate this auction to the Feminist Majority Foundation for their dedication and passion in addressing the problem of gender discrimination.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, founded in 1987 and led by Eleanor Smeal, is a cutting edge research and advocacy organization dedicated to women's equality, reproductive health, and non-violence. Our organization believes that feminists - both women and men - who believe in women's equality are the majority, but this majority must be empowered. The Feminist Majority Foundation's name was inspired by a Newsweek/Gallup poll, which showed that 56 of women self-identified as feminists.
In all spheres, the Feminist Majority Foundation utilizes research and action to empower women economically, socially and politically. Our research and action programs focus on advancing the legal, social and political equality of women with men, countering the backlash to women's advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists to encourage future leadership for the feminist movement. To carry out these aims, the Foundation engages in research and public policy development, public education programs, grassroots organizing projects, leadership training and development programs, and participates in and organizes forums on issues of women's equality and empowerment.
The Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan was launched in 1997, shortly after the Taliban's military takeover of Kabul, with the goal of educating and mobilizing the American public about the horrific situation of Afghan women. Under the Taliban's brutal system of gender apartheid, Afghan women and girls are prohibited from attending school, working, and leaving their homes without a close male relative and have had their access to health care severely limited. Women and girls have been beaten, imprisoned, shot at, and even killed for violating the Taliban's decrees.
Chaired by Mavis Leno, the Campaign has achieved significant successes. With the assistance of major celebrities and joined by 194 co-sponsoring organizations, the Campaign has garnered media attention to bring the oppression of Afghan women to center stage in the U.S. and the world. Through successful advocacy efforts, the Campaign has helped prevent the U.S. and U. N. from officially recognizing the Taliban -- until women's human rights have been restored, generated hundreds of thousands of petitions to national and international leadership, prevented the construction of an oil and gas pipeline that would have provided enormous profits for the Taliban, and helped increase humanitarian assistance for Afghan women and girls. Despite these successes, life for women and girls in Afghanistan remains a nightmare as the Taliban's draconian decrees denying women their visibility, voice, livelihood, and mobility are still in force. For more information or to join the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, call 888-WE-WOMEN or visit www.feminist.org.