Sotheby’s is counting on some top-tier fashion talent to draw attention to its first gala and a not-for-profit exhibition that highlights Indigenous communities and the climate crisis.
Photographer Annie Leibovitz has been tapped to co-chair the 2022 Sotheby’s Impact Gala benefit at Manhattan’s Upper East Side auction house that will support the Brazilian reforestation nonprofit Instituto Terra. Gabriela Hearst, an advocate for environmentalism in the fashion industry and beyond, will be part of the benefit committee. Hearst’s Nina Garcia is also pitching in with the actor Adrian Grenier and the musician Sting’s actress daughter Mickey Sumner. The festivities will include cocktails, a seated dinner, live auction and a musical performance by another member of the benefit committee, the Latin pop star Anitta. All of the proceeds from the gala will go to Instituto Terra, as will all the proceeds from this fall’s exhibition of artist and environmentalist Sebastiao Salgado. A third component of the fundraising initiative for the Brazilian organization will be the auction, which will offer unique experiences and artwork across different mediums.
Sotheby’s will be staging the first U.S. survey of the Brazilian artist’s work since the ’90s and the auction house’s largest curated solo show of photography. Salgado’s ”Magnum Opus” will spotlight 50 photographs from 1978 to the present. His art examines intergenerational subcultures, a dozen Indigenous communities and the global climate crisis. His work is part of the permanent collections at the Centre Pompidou, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art.
This fall’s show will reference four of the artist’s bodies of work — “Goldmine” from 1986 chronicled 50,000 men searching for gold in northern Brazil; “Kuwait” from 1991 captured the environmental fallout from Saddam Hussein’s troops igniting 700 oil wells; ”Genesis” was an eight-year global exploration from 2004 to 2012, and “Amazonia” (2013 to 2018) reflects Salgado’s work in the Brazilian rainforest, which called for more than 50 trips for this project alone. Instituto Terra’s has planted nearly three million trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest and has revitalized 2,000-plus water springs.
The exhibition will be open to the public at Sotheby’s galleries in its York Avenue headquarters starting on Sept. 26 and running through Oct. 12. Visitors will find enlarged platinum prints straight from the artist’s studio and an assortment of his better-known images from the past 40-plus years. Social and economic inequity, subjects that Hearst and others have addressed publicly, are undercurrents in the photographer’s work. Having traveled to more than 120 countries, Salagdo is known to capture the realities and struggles of his subjects with his imagery.
Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil hit a six-year high last month and about 1,540 square miles of land were cleared in the region between January and June of this year. As the world’s largest rainforest, it absorbs significant amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Salgado and his wife Lelia Wanick Salgado founded Instituto Terra in 1998 to support the preservation and reforestation of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest.
As museums, galleries and other institutions are playing up multi-sensory experiences, so too is Sotheby’s. The Salgado survey will include a musical composition by the French composer Francois-Bernard Mache.