Art Market

A collector donated works by McArthur Binion, Amy Sherald, and others to a historically Black college.

Justin Kamp
Dec 14, 2020 10:34PM, via CNN

McArthur Binion, DNA:Study (2019). Courtesy Lehmann Maupin.

New York business executive and Morehouse College alum George Wells has pledged to donate roughly $1 million worth of works from his collection to his alma mater. The historically Black Atlanta college will receive a selection that includes works by Amy Sherald, Rashid Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, Ivy Haldeman, and McArthur Binion, among others. The works will be displayed around the college’s campus in 2021 and will form Morehouse’s first permanent art collection.

Wells said in a statement:

I will always be grateful for my Morehouse education and the springboard it created for my career on Wall Street and in business, and I want to recognize that with this gift. Owning multiple works by Johnson and Thomas is like owning a piece of history to me. Their practices both showcase black resiliency and triumph but in different ways and from different gender perspectives. It is my hope that this gift will serve as an impetus for furthering racial equality within the art world during this exceptionally vulnerable time for Americans and race relations.

According to Artsy data, both Sherald and Johnson have been the subject of increased interest on the platform in recent years. Sherald, whose work was first published on Artsy in 2018, saw her highest level of demand the following year. Works by Johnson, meanwhile, have seen a steady rise in inquiries since 2014 with 2020 receiving the most dramatic increase thus far—inquiries more than doubled between this year and last.

Justin Kamp