Artist-designed face masks raise money for Covid-19 relief efforts
Face masks are here to stay – for now – and so their functional purpose is developing into another form of self-expression
Wedel Art Collective has collaborated with six leading artists to produce face masks, with all proceeds going to artist support for those affected by Covid-19 or to international relief efforts. ‘Good design enhances and beautifies function. It sweetens the necessity of an object,’ says Amelie von Wedel, art advisor at Wedel Art and founder of Wedel Art Collective.
Pictured top, the first artist Wedel has partnered with, Barbara Kruger, has rethought the bold colour and statements which define her artwork. Sign Language is consistent with the effects of political structures which Kruger explores in her work, here emphasising how vital the role speech – or silence – can play in shaping our society.
Succinctly cutting to the heart of the issue is Jenny Holzer, whose mask offers a useful reminder as to why they are necessary at all. You - Me is in the spirit of the powerful statements she makes through her artwork, with concise and thoughtful alternative commentaries.
Rosemarie Trockel has created four different versions of her Wedel Art Collective mask, each paying tribute to four of the women she has featured in work in the past which explores issues around gender and identity. Hannah Arendt, Nina Simone, Marguerite Duras and Agnes Martin’s names are legible from only a safe distance of 1.5 - 2m. With no explanation, their names invite conversation.
Rashid Johnson draws on his Broken Men artwork for his mask design. The works – uneven mosaics of anxiety – ask philosophical questions as to how we can endure and fight with dignity, issues which come to the fore in times of crisis.
A preoccupation with memory and history is the driving force behind Lorna Simpson’s Daydream, a work she produced this year and has now translated onto a facemask for the Collective. It is part of a series of monochromatic paintings which she has created by layering the faces of women who appeared in adverts for Ebony magazine, a surreal take on the nature of gender and race.
The final artist collaboration is with Raymond Pettibon, whose work in the past has paid reference to an eclectic mash of sources, with everything from pop and commercial culture to classic literary texts sources of inspiration. For his mask design, he has returned to Vavoom, a figure inspired by Felix the Cat which he created in the mid 1980s. His voice is a superpower; the rallying cry he emits strong enough to flatten forests and redraw his environment. §