The cultural confluence of the art world and celebrity is finally doing some good—at least when it comes to the relationship between filmmaker Ava DuVernay and art patron Agnes Gund. Gund has been making headlines this summer, first speaking out about the lack of diversity in the art world in an interview with artnet News’s editor-in-chief, and using the income from selling a $150 million Roy Lichtenstein painting to start the Art for Justice Fund, a nonprofit established to address criminal justice reform. The impetus for such a generous act of patronage? None other than Ava Duverney, whose Academy Award-winning documentary 13th explores the intersection of race and mass incarceration in the US justice system. The powerful documentary inspired Gund to put her money where her mouth is.
DuVernay, whose credits include the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma and the TV series “Queen Sugar,” spoke about the initiative in a new interview with W magazine. “It hits me emotionally in a very profound way as an artist, that something that came from my mind and my heart influenced someone to do something so big and so transformative,” the director told the magazine. “For me to be any part of that, and my work to have instigated that, is better than any box office or any review,” she said.