The Artist as Philanthropist:

Artists see the future first.

Last time I went to the de Young Museum in San Francisco was to see the David Hockney exhibit that featured his room size paintings as well as his iPad paintings. Here's a great video interview with the painter about his ipad.

The idea of an artist - especially one as revered as Hockney - painting digitally (and emailing the results to his buddies) is intriguing to me. Especially from the perspective of the ownership questions that such digital creativity inspire.

(Photo from
This coming Saturday (December 6) I'm looking forward to another event at the de Young, this one on the role of artists as philanthropists. How artists create endowments from their work to further their reach is interesting in and of itself. Two particular facets stand out for me:
  • The Cy Twombly (a personal favorite of mine) Foundation just became the first $1 billion endowment. 
  • Digital strategies are playing an increasing role in the work of artist-endowed foundations, from platforms for public access to cultural materials and participation to frameworks for grants, meetings, and public impact. Christy MacLear of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will address that point during the panel.
The panel will focus on research conducted by the Aspen Institute and look at how artists endowments are changing cultural philanthropy writ large. I'm particularly interested in learning more about the ways all of this is changing in the digital age. Info on the event is here. (It's free and open to the public)

And here's the report.

It's likely that artists' foundations will have lots to teach the rest of us about digital philanthropy.

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