Nina Simone Childhood Home Benefit Auction Bangers

Julie Mehretu, New Dawn, Sing (for Nina), 2023, ink and acrylic on canvas, 36×44 in., est. $900k-1.2m, image Marian Goodman Gallery via Sotheby’s

I’ve been in low-key awe and gratitude for the artists who stepped in to rescue Nina Simone’s childhood home in 2017, and who have continued to lead the effort to make it a site of public history and memorialization. It kicked off with Verne Dawson, who is local in western North Carolina, where Simone’s small house is, and he helped rally Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, Adam Pendleton, and Julie Mehretu to buy the house and start the preservation process.

Now the National Trust for Historic Preservation is on the case, and their African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is raising money for the project. As part of that, Adam Pendleton and Venus Williams are co-curating a benefit auction to be held at Pace next month, and so far, it is bangers all the way down.

Seriously, the thing to do would be to buy all the things, but especially the works of the quartet of artists central to the rescue and restoration project. The auction is conducted by Sotheby’s and processed by Pace. As of now, only Mehretu’s painting, New Dawn, Sing (For Nina), also includes a right-of-first-refusal clause, which is to be executed with Marian Goodman Gallery. Which seems very reasonable.

May 20, 2023: Nina Simone Childhood Home: Benefit Auction Co-Presented by the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and Pace Gallery | Hosted by Sotheby’s [sothebys]