Statement from the Albers Foundation
The New York Times, January 27 2017
We do not come first.
We are patriotic Americans who run two nonprofit organizations based on the premise that all people, everywhere, have equal rights to the benefits of earthly life. We deplore nationalism, racism, and sexism. The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation does its best to make the glories of great art available to everyone, everywhere. The Alberses—refugees from Nazi Germany for whom the US was a haven—revealed the wonders of color, textiles, and artistic process so that they could be enjoyed all over the planet. Le Korsa—our organization in Senegal—provides medical care, education, nutrition, and cultural enrichment to our African friends in some of the poorest and most isolated regions of the world, where living conditions are arduous. Our Women’s Health Center in Dakar enables a large female population to have whatever care they desire. We are currently building a school, graced by the local Marabout, in a Muslim village on the far side of the Gambia River where there has never before been a school of any sort; it will teach boys and girls together, as the villagers have requested, and enable them to advance in splendid new ways. To us, being American means not putting ourselves first, but using the privileges we have to serve our fellow human beings by making their needs our priority. We work to serve our extraordinary colleagues—in museums from Oslo to Lima, in the hospitals and villages of West Africa—because Everyone comes first. The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation (albersfoundation.org)Le Korsa (aflk.org and thread-senegal.org)
In 1971, Josef Albers established a not-for-profit organization to further “the revelation and evocation of vision through art.”
Today, this organization — subsequently renamed by NFW as The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation — is devoted to preserving and promoting the achievements of both Josef and Anni Albers, and the aesthetic and philosophical principles by which they lived.
NFW has been running the Foundation since Josef’s death in 1976, initially in close collaboration with Anni; in 1979, he was given the title of “Executive Director”.
NFW considers the Foundation to be an opportunity to maintain the artistic standards and remarkable personal values he had the good luck to experience directly in his friendship with both of the Alberses. In 1999, with the support of his fellow trustees of the Foundation, he organized the construction of its headquarters in Bethany, Connecticut, next to the house where he and Katharine have lived since 1977, and where they have raised their daughters.
The Foundation has become a pilgrimage point, and is so respected today that Sir Nicholas Serota, director of Tate in London, has called it “the cream of artist’s foundations: the standard bearer.” The Albers Foundation fosters the understanding and appreciation of the arts and of all visual experience—with the combined legacies of Josef and Anni Albers at its heart. It carries out its mission by working on exhibitions and publications—primarily focused on the art of Josef and Anni Albers—assisting with research, and sponsoring scholarships. It conserves the Alberses’ art and archives, and is open by appointment.
It was possible to acquire this beautiful woodland acreage and construct an ideal building thanks to funds received by Anni for the restitution of family property in the former East Berlin; NFW and Anni’s brother, Hans Farman, went to Berlin together to finalize this arrangement. The Bethany campus includes a central research and storage center to accommodate the Foundation’s art collections, library, archives, and offices, as well as residence studios for visiting artists. NFW and two close friends, the architect Nick Ohly and the sculptor Natalie Charkow, selected the architects, Tim Prentice and his partner Lo-Yi Chan, and worked closely with them to make the Foundation an oasis in the art world of today, a place of immense visual beauty and seriousness. Tim Prentice, who studied with Josef and is a sculptor as well as an architect, considered the project in part an expression of thanks to one of his mentors, and achieved remarkable results.
Nicholas Fox Weber and the Foundation are inseparable. While the Foundation trustees have always supported and encouraged his wish to write about other artists and to branch out, he considers his role in perpetuating the legacy of his two wonderful friends—individuals with a supreme dedication to the visual art and to making the world a better place—to be one of the greatest privileges of his life.
Minimal Means Maximum Effects
Le Korsa is a dynamic non-profit organization that works directly with dedicated doctors, teachers, and students in Senegal to improve human lives. Operating programs at carefully selected sites, responding quickly and immediately to emergencies, we are astonishingly effective. Our actions are concrete, designed to fulfill urgent needs. We are in constant contact with our network of Senegalese colleagues to make sure that we are achieving our goals, and the results are extraordinary.
While we recognize that we cannot provide global solutions, we have, with very specific projects, all small-scale compared to what larger and better-known charities do, made a tremendous difference in the areas of medical care, education, and cultural enrichment in a part of the world where the needs are urgent and substantial.
Le Korsa is devoted to action that is direct and effective. We do not have a cushy infrastructure, and any money that we receive goes to work, verifiably, in Senegal; as an accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all donations are tax deductible and we are also legally incorporated in Senegal.