Warhol Foundation Completes Art Donations, Shifts to Grantmaking

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has closed a final record-breaking round of art donations and is entering a new phase focused solely on grantmaking.

Over the past two years, the foundation has donated 14,847 pieces of art — mostly photographic material and prints — to 322 institutions, including 183 college and university art museums and galleries, in 48 states and almost a dozen countries. Required to exhibit the works within five years, the recipients include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri; George Eastman House in Rochester, New York; and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon — each of which received one of six "family albums" that Warhol assembled using a total of 2,956 Polaroids.

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University received the largest donation, which includes 4,115 sheets of negatives covering Warhol's entire black-and-white photography career and 3,624 contact sheets. While no exhibitions of the material are scheduled until 2017, the School of Medicine at Stanford will use the contact sheets in a class dedicated to enhancing the clinical skills of medical students through the analysis of art. "Stanford can do something other institutions couldn't, which is take a truly interdisciplinary and multilayered approach to Warhol, which is appropriate," said Cantor Arts Center director Connie Wolf.

Having awarded 52,786 works by Warhol since 1999, the foundation will now focus on grantmaking. With a cash endowment of more than $280 million and assets valued at approximately $350 million, the foundation plans to award nearly $14 million in grants in 2015, primarily to institutions in the United States, the New York Times reports. The hope is that further sales of art, investment gains, and income from licensing Warhol's work will lift the endowment enough to boost the foundation's annual grantmaking 30 percent or more, foundation president Joel Wachs told the Los Angeles Times.

This year's awards include a two-year, $300,000 grant to launch Common Field, a national grassroots network of artist-run spaces and projects. "We have worked on the ground for years with organizations that are run by and for artists," Wachs said in a statement. "And though in many cases these groups may be too small, too community-based, or too out-of-the-way to attract mainstream attention, we have found that they often generate some of the most vital artwork that's being made. We have been enthusiastic about helping and encouraging these groups one by one. Now we're excited to help them create something they've lacked — a nationwide network — so they can bolster one another."

"Moving Into the Next Phase of Its Life, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Seeds Grassroots Arts Activity Across the U.S." Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Press Release 01/06/2015. Mike Boehm. "Andy Warhol Foundation Finishes Spree of Art Giveaways." Los Angeles Times 01/05/2015. Ted Loos. "For Warhol, '15 Brings More Fame." New York Times 01/04/2015.