Video still of Owens Lake, from a display at the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) Owens Lake Land Observatory, a CLUI exhibit facility at Swansea, California (photo courtesy Center for Land Use Interpretation)

The Warhol Foundation has announced the recipients of its latest round of grants, which total $3.9 million and will be distributed to 50 arts organizations across 18 states and the District of Columbia. Among the grantees, 19 are first-time recipients of a grant from the foundation. In recognition of the pandemic’s enduring, destabilizing effects on the arts sector, the Warhol Foundation will allow grantees to use up to 50% of the grant on administrative costs.

A few common themes emerged from the organizations and projects that received funding in this cycle. Some initiatives are social justice-oriented, highlighting issues surrounding Indigenous land rights, climate change and sustainability, and racial inequity. Others hope to train an eye on forgotten figures who have been buried in the historical archive as a result of structural forces that worked against them in their lifetimes: Several grants will support major museums and institutions that are putting on an underrepresented artist’s first solo exhibition or retrospective. A number of organizations celebrate film, multimedia, and performative arts through restoration, programming, and commissioning experimental work, and $356,000 in curatorial fellowships were also announced for curators working on projects about disability, alternative spiritual practices, bio-art, and art created by immigrants.

Josh Kline, “Illegal Aliens 1776” (2021), billboard, Seventh Avenue and 40th Street. Commission by Shandaken Projects, billboard by Lamar (photo courtesy Shandaken Projects)

Black Cube, based in Englewood, Colorado, is a distinctive nonprofit “nomadic art museum” that operates as a traveling institution of contemporary art. The name is a play on the conventional “white cube” museum experience. Black Cube, which received a $60,000 grant from the foundation for program support over two years, hosts 18-month artist fellowships and has showcased site-specific installations in Colorado, New York City, Pittsburgh, and the US-Mexico border.

“As an artist-centric nomadic nonprofit, it means the world to us to have the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation,” Cortney Stell, Black Cube’s chief curator and executive director, told Hyperallergic. “Not only does the Warhol Foundation bring with it recognizable cache that is delightful to share with our community, but they are a foundation known for supporting artists above all else, a vision that we are deeply aligned with.”

The National Museum of the American Indian, located in Manhattan’s Financial District, received a $100,000 grant to stage a retrospective of Shelley Niro, a multidisciplinary Mohawk artist from New York and Ontario known for her portraiture and filmmaking. Titled Shelley Niro: 500 Year Itch, the subtitle of the exhibition is derived from a self-portrait of the artist donning a white dress and blonde wig in the guise of Marilyn Monroe.

“Through her art, Niro brings attention to the stories of Native women and the challenges posed by colonialist patriarchies,” David Penney, the exhibition’s curator, said in an email. “This grant will help us create an exhibition that explores these themes through Niro’s remarkable body of work.”

An image from Paul Sharits’s “RAZOR BLADES” (1965–68), restored by Anthology Film Archives (photo courtesy AFA)

Anthology Film Archives (AFA), co-founded in 1970 by Jonas Mekas, Jerome Hill, P. Adams Sitney, Peter Kubelka, and Stan Brakhage, is a stalwart of film preservation in New York’s East Village. The organization received a $75,000 grant to continue its work and put together a program reflecting on the “diversity of contemporary filmmaking culture.”

Jad Rapfogel, a film programmer at AFA, said the support came at a crucial time: “Aside from the fact that Anthology is specifically devoted to screening (and preserving) defiantly independent, non-commercial cinema — which is by definition not a lucrative endeavor — it’s becoming increasingly difficult for repertory cinemas to sustain themselves, especially given the rise of streaming video and the impact of a pandemic that exacerbated the transition to home viewing.”

“With all that in mind, it’s no exaggeration to say that the Andy Warhol Foundation grant is utterly indispensable in allowing us to continue to fulfill our mission,” Rapfogel added.

Amalia Mesa-Bains’s multi-disciplinary practice probes themes of Mexican Catholicism, colonialism and exoticism, feminism, and multiculturalism. (photo courtesy BAMPFA)

In another noteworthy project, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) received a $100,000 grant to explore the life and work of Bay Area-born Chicana curator, artist, and writer Amalia Mesa-Bains, whose art probes themes of Mexican Catholicism, colonialism and exoticism, feminism, and multiculturalism.

“This comprehensive retrospective and publication will bring long-overdue attention to Amalia’s groundbreaking work as a pioneering figure in feminist Chicanx art,” said BAMPFA Chief Curator Christina Yang. “We are proud to present this exhibition as part of BAMPFA’s commitment to expanding the art historical canon through the urgent representation of BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ artists.”

A full list of grantees will be available on the foundation’s website.

Jasmine Liu is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied anthropology and mathematics at Stanford University.