Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, More Sell Works to Benefit Black Trans Community, Sex Workers

Claire Selvin

BY CLAIRE SELVINSeptember 1, 2020 2:55pm

Prints by Malike Sadibe and Ryan
Prints by Malike Sadibe and Ryan McGinley in Towards Utopia’s sale.COURTESY THE ARTISTS AND TOWARDS UTOPIA

The nonprofit Towards Utopia launched an online print sale on Tuesday to benefit three organizations providing housing, grants, and other resources to Black trans people and sex workers. All proceeds after shipping and printing costs will be distributed equally to Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society (G.L.I.T.S.), Sex Workers Outreach Project Brooklyn, and For the Gworls.

The sale, which was curated by K. O. Nnamdie of the New York–based Restaurant Projects and organized with Phile Magazine, includes editioned pieces priced between $50 and $200, with prints of paintings, drawings, and photographs on offer. Works by Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Tyler Givens, Jesse Pratt López, Gioncarlo Valentine, Ebecho Muslimova, Marcel Alcalá, Marlon Kroll, and more artists are available. According to an Instagram post by Towards Utopia, the sale will run until the end of September or until all prints are sold.

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“Everyone has a role to play in the revolution. While this year has brought new breadth to the term ‘activism’ and what it means to sustainably fight for Black America, we are finding that the fight for Black Trans people and Sex Workers continues to fall short,” Towards Utopia wrote on Instagram. “This year alone has seen a tragic increase in the number of hate crimes targeting Black Trans people. Far too many have had their beautiful lives cut short by violence and systematic disenfranchisement.”

The organization has released a disclaimer regarding the purchase of artworks from the sale. Buyers must not resell or display artworks in a museum, gallery, or other public exhibition venue without the express consent of the artists. Resales with permission from the artist must direct more than 25 percent of the total sale to an antiracist organization. Those who purchase prints in the sale must also agree not to make copies of the artwork they buy.

“We wish it didn’t have to be said, but in light of recent events, we feel it important to underline this point in order to best protect our artists,” Towards Utopia said in a post detailing these conditions on Instagram.

Last week, amid criticism from artists, the Whitney Museum in New York canceled an exhibition that had been set to feature works whose sales had benefited mutual aid funds related to the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Artists whose works were to be shown in the presentation said that they were not duly consulted before their pieces were acquired by the institution and that they had not been compensated for the acquisitions.

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