Put your art where your mouth is: leading British artists design masks for charity

The four masks are available for £120, or £35 each, as part of a crowdfunding initiative launched by the Contemporary Art Society charity Courtesy of CAS

Artists David Shrigley, Eddie Peake, Linder and Yinka Shonibare have designed a set of limited-edition facemasks for a fundraising campaign supporting UK museums and artists in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The four masks are available for £120, or £35 each, as part of a crowdfunding initiative launched by the charity Contemporary Art Society (CAS).

The campaign, organised in partnership with Frieze London, is called the CAS Rapid Response Fund; museums that subscribe to the Contemporary Art Society as members (71 in total) can apply to the fund to buy works, supporting artists.

“Money raised will be spent purchasing works by British-based artists, providing financial support to artists, [and an ecosystem of] technicians and art handlers, many of whom work on a freelance basis and have seen their income streams decimated over recent weeks, due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” says a CAS statement.

Shrigleys design shows a series of peaks along with the word “emotions”. He says in a statement: “My design perhaps acknowledges that our emotions are more difficult to see when we wear a mask.” Shonibares mask is emblazoned with the artists vivid Dutch wax-printed fabrics while Linders piece shows a mouth grafted on to a body part (detail from the 1977 record cover for Orgasm Addict by the Buzzcocks). Caroline Douglas, the director of CAS, tells The Art Newspaper: “We had instantaneous reactions from all four artists who were happy to help.”

The fund has already raised £100,000 through CAS patrons, which will support around ten acquisitions; the crowdfunding campaign hopes to hit a target of £20,000 by 10 June.

The first round of purchasing will be announced next month; museums must make a case for how a specific “work will support their engagement with local communities when they reopen”, says the CAS.

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