Isn’t it amazing? That will likely be the case for a new exhibition opening Friday at David Zwirner in New York, titled “A Maze Zanine, Amaze Zaning, A Mezzaning, Meza-9” that brings together the work of 50 artists benefiting Performance Space New York. Proceeds from sales made through the exhibition, which is organized by four artists—Kerstin Brätsch, Ei Arakawa, Laura Owens, and Nicole Eisenman—will allow the nonprofit to expand its programming and offer artist fellowships.
“As soon as Jenny Schlenzka and Pati Hertling at Performance Space enlisted these four artists to organize this show, it was clear this would be something more than just another benefit,” Thor Shannon, a director at Zwirner, told ARTnews in an email. “I think everyone was eager to somehow capture the guerrilla attitude of Performance Space with each creative decision. There was immediate consensus to take the (let’s admit) slightly tired, if noble, format of the benefit group show, and elevate it, complicate it, dial it up to 100.”
The concept of the group show quickly ballooned in proportion as the organizers kept inviting artists (all painters) until they reached a gobsmacking 50. Artists featured in the show include Mickalene Thomas, Giangiacomo Rossetti, Marilyn Minter, and Dana Schutz, whose vivid work Painting with a Gun (2022) of a fire-breathing artist painting in a black void will be on offer.
In addition to those works, Brätsch, Arakawa, Owens, and Eisenman will also debut their own collaborative work, which they created over the summer at Zwirner’s space on West 19th Street in Chelsea, which Shannon said the four artists used “as an art studio for the end of the summer, with carte blanche to do whatever they wanted to it.”
He continued, “I think the art world and market really discourages these kinds of acts of collaboration between artists—demanding a kind of almighty mono-ego—so everyone said it felt special to work alongside peers they admired without external market pressure, given the show is a benefit.”
While proceeds from the work will benefit Performance Space New York, the works on view have not been outright donated. Instead Schlenzka (Performance Space’s executive artistic director) and Hertling, (its deputy director) ensured that the artists would receive a 50-percent cut from the sale of their work, as would be the case if it were sold at a typical gallery show.
“It has been a dream of ours to find more sustainable ways of supporting our institution and nonprofits in general,” Schlenzka and Hertling said in a joint email. “We have been looking for a mutually supportive fundraising model between institution and artist.”
“A Maze Zanine, Amaze Zaning, A Mezzaning, Meza-9” is on view at David Zwirner in New York from September 9 to October 8th.