Thursday, October 20, 2011

MEDIA NEWS: Russell Simmons's Art Foundation Marks 15 Years With a Portfolio From Kalup Linzy, Sanford Biggers, and Others

Kenya (Robinson), Personage, 2011. Archival pigments on fine art rag paper. From the 15 x 15 Rush Portfolio. 

Russell Simmons's Art Foundation Marks 15 Years With A Portfolio From Kalup Linzy, Sanford Biggers, and Others

Text by Ann Binlot for
October 19, 2011

NEW YORK— Feeling a lack of resources in the art world for emerging artists of color, brothers Russell (the hip-hop mogul), Danny (an artist), and Joseph "Reverend Run" (of Run-DMC) Simmons founded Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation in 1996. The foundation and its Chelsea space, Rush Arts Gallery, helped launch the careers of artists like Kalup Linzy, Kehinde Wiley, and Barron Claiborne, and his since expanded to help all emerging artists. It celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with a series of events and a limited-edition portfolio that can be purchased at

"We wanted to commemorate the great work," Danny Simmons told ARTINFO. "A lot of people can't afford to buy original work but would love to have these artists in their collections. It helps support the gallery and it also helps support the artist."

The portfolio,"15 X 15," brought together 15 Rush alumni to create limited-edition 16 X 20 prints. Curator Ingrid LaFleur selected the 15 artists for the portfolio: Simone Leigh; Kalup Linzy; Ayana V. Jackson; Tahir Hemphill (whose work is in
MoMA's Talk to Me exhibition); Sol'Sax; Wangechi Mutu; Sanford Biggers (who currently has a show at the Brooklyn Museum); Navin June Norling; Diane Wah; Kenya (Robinson); Michael Paul Britto; Renee Cox; Barron Claiborne; Lennon Jno-Baptiste; and Angelbert Metoyer.

The foundation has selected its artists in different ways over the years, from recruiting at art schools, to making studio visits, to accepting submissions. But with the astounding response, now there is a panel of experts and curators (Rush also cultivates careers of burgeoning curators) who go through the artists' work.

"There are very few outlets that have really catered to the type of work that these young artists are doing," said Danny told us. "To have a venue like Rush gives them a home, a goal to shoot for, and it helps create a community of these artists where people can network, get together, and discuss ideas."

While Danny, who owns pieces by most of the Rush artists, personally felt that each of the artists Rush supported over the years was great, he had no idea how successful they would become. "Did I know that they were going to be picked up so widely by the mainstream art world?" Danny told ARTINFO. "No I didn't know that, but I hoped they would."

Click here to view portfolio and pricing information.
Brotherly love (left to right) Joseph (aka "Reverend Run"), Danny and Russell Simmons. © 2011 Patrick  McMullan Company

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