Artist Peter Åström Designs Masks for New Initiative Supporting Artists of Color
Produced by design trailblazer Ralph Pucci, the limited-edition masks make an artful statement
Like most of us, design empresario Ralph Pucci has been spending a lot of time indoors. “This is the longest I’ve ever been in my home,” he tells Galerie from his Connecticut estate, where an art-filled guest bedroom has functioned as an ad hoc office space since March.
So when his daughter, Nicole, who runs operations for his gallery, came to him with an idea to do a line of limited-edition masks for charity, he didn’t have to look far for inspiration. “Over years I’ve collected lots of art, and I have quite a few pieces by Peter Åström,” says Pucci of the Swedish-born, Manhattan-based abstractionist. “He’s done murals and art shows for me in Los Angeles and New York—I’ve always been very fond on him.”
So fond, in fact, that Pucci’s makeshift office is lined with several works by Åström, who also gifted him a book of his oeuvre in 2001 that he has been reading while sheltering in place. “Peter is one of my personal favorites, but his art is underappreciated, and he kind of got lost in the cracks,” explains Pucci. “I wanted to see him get the recognition he deserves.”
After speaking with Nicole, Pucci called up Åström to run by him the idea of creating a mask featuring one of his works. The artist enthusiastically agreed, and it was decided that the black-and-white painting Raising Cloud would grace the face coverings. “Peter’s work is exceptional—he captures the hecticness of New York while referencing his Swedish heritage.”
Proceeds from the limited-edition masks, which are priced at $20 each, will be donated to the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, which was set up in March by the Arts Administrators of Color. The fund supports BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists and administrators who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic via $200 micro-grants.
“It was absolutely important to me for it to support charity,” says Pucci, who is also a supporter of the Jazz House Kids. “There was so much enthusiasm on the team for this—it wasn’t just a knee-jerk reaction. A lot of time and thought was put into it.”