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Artist's books by Marcel Duchamp, Willem de Kooning and Joseph Beuys auctioned for shop destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

  • @matildbattersby

When tropical cyclone Hurricane Sandy cut through America’s East Coast last November it wasn’t just homes and lives that where decimated but valuable artworks, too.

Specialist bookshop Printed Matter, Inc in SoHo, New York has been an alternative not-for-profit arts space since 1976 purveying artist’s books (works of art realised in the form of a publication). But when its basement was flooded by Sandy “an important archive” of over 9,000 books, hundreds of artworks and equipment was destroyed.

The clean-up has taken months and highlighted to Printed Matter’s organisers the need to “establish a durable foundation for its mission and services into the future”. As a result it is staging its first large-scale fundraising initiative by auctioning 120 artworks donated by artists to the cause.

Rare books, artworks and other items from the personal collection of Robert Rauschenberg have also been donated to the fundraiser. These include books and artworks from Marcel Duchamp, Willem de Kooning, Alfred Steiglitz, Joseph Beuys, Brigid Berlin (Polk), as well as a Claes Oldenburg sculpture, a rare William Burroughs manuscript, and the Anthology Film Archive Portfolio (1982).

“Not only are we hopeful that this event will help us to put Sandy firmly behind us, it is incredibly special for us. To have so many artists and friends associated with our organisation over its 36 years come forward and support us in this effort has been truly humbling,“ said Printed Matter executive director James Jenkin.

The Sandy Relief Benefit for Printed Matter will be held at the Rauschenberg Project Space in Chelsea, New York until 9 March. Bids can be made online for some artworks at www.paddle8.com/auctions/printedmatter and a live auction will take place on 9 March.