The Ford Foundation announces art and social justice gallery opening

The fifth-richest charitable organization in the world is opening its first gallery exhibition on March 5, at its headquarters in Manhattan. The rotating program of exhibitions will focus on artists who address themes of social justice.

The Ford Foundation announces art and social justice gallery opening

The Ford Foundation for Social Justice is about to open its doors

While the organization has a long track record of supporting art through grant-making, such as the establishment of the 100 million $ Art for Justice fund launched in collaboration with collector Agnes Gund, this is the first time the foundation has had a dedicated platform for arts programming.
The 2.000-square-foot double-height exhibition space is located on the first floor of the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice. Its headquarters, a mid-century modern building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Roche-Dinkeloo in 1967, recently underwent a two-year refurbishment lead by the architectural firm Gensler.

The refurbishment presented an opportunity for the foundation to engage directly with the public, gallery director Lisa Kim told artnet News. “By having a physical space we can present exhibitions, and we can have a dialogue with the communities we work with,” she said.

Global artists explore themes related to inhumanity and injustice

“The artists in the show come from all over the world, in a reflection of the foundation’s commitment to approaching social and political problems globally”, Lisa Kim, also noted. “Problems like systemic racism and gender bias and classism are not unique to the U.S. or India or Mexico,” she said. But, she added, “As we talk about these problems that cross continents we can also talk about the shared humanity that begins to heal them.”

The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “PERILOUS BODIES”, was organized by Jaishri Abichandani and Natasha Becker and will open March 5th. Artists featured in this group show will include Tiffany Chung, David Antonio Cruz, Barthélémy Toguo, Wendy Red Star, and Vanessa German, along with 14 others from around the globe. It explores the inhumanity and injustice created by divisions of gender, race, class, and ethnicity. The artists in the exhibition offer a raw and honest look at the issues we must address head-on to ensure dignity for all.

The venue will host exhibitions, talks, and performances in hopes of creating an atmosphere in which, according to a press release, “the art world and the public can come together for contemplation and conversation in an inspiring, adaptive space.”

“Art allows us to connect with communities that are different from us and allows us to understand our shared humanity,” Kim said. “Art fosters representation, and we want to show artworks that have a global perspective on issues that we face as a society. We’re really looking for artists that may not be given a platform in a traditional art space.”

Founded by Henry and Edsel Ford in 1936 with the mission of advancing human welfare, the foundation has an estimated endowment of 13.7 billion $.