was officially created in New York by its founder Bettina Werner. Born in Milan, Italy in 1965 but American by adoption, the Artist presides over and directs the Foundation.
What is the mission of The Foundation ?
The Salt Queen Foundation is dedicated to support, conserve, and protect the artistic, cultural and intellectual invention of art created with textured colorized salt developed in the early 1980s by international artist Bettina Werner. The Foundation will endeavor to promote education of the value and importance of salt in the history of humanity, and will seek to promote the recognition and appreciation of this new salt art, as well as to encourage the profound and often unquantifiable values utilized by other artists working with innovative artistic techniques and extraordinary media, celebrating freedom of imagination, wisdom, knowledge and expression.
Why would a young artist set up such a foundation so early instead of waiting until the end of life and career ?
To serve the objectives of the creative life force, an innovative artist cannot stand alone but must build a sanctuary of support so that the art will live long after the one who makes it is gone. Like many successful artists, Bettina Werner has in the past trusted art galleries of premiere international status. But also she has encountered disappointment, neglect, even fraud and criminal abuse of the artwork itself and the trust that an artist places in the business-oriented people who control the art world. Most galleries and art dealers last little more than a generation. When they are gone, they abandon the stewardship of the artworks, which become damaged due to poor conservation or dispersed due to neglect. This means that even the most conscientiously managed gallery can work only for the present best interests of artists and their creations. Commercial thinkers feel compelled by market forces to maximize immediate profit. Because they have no other values, they are not interested in tomorrow and the longer future of many tomorrows. Such a cynical atmosphere makes it necessary for avant-garde artists to mount their own defense. Especially in this new millennium, the cliché of the crazy, irresponsible or naive artist is no longer valid. It is not just the image of the creative personality that has changed. Today's artists are international travelers, often better connected socially, and more precisely educated than many gallery owners who have traditionally functioned as exclusive managers of the artist. Far from desperate or starving, the new artist enters the art world as an equal unafraid to reject the paternalism of gallery owners. New artists will not settle for anything less than taking charge of their own destinies. Sophisticated, informed by new technological media, a wider consciousness, and empowered by United States law, the new artist is stronger, no longer easily manipulated or intimidated. This nascent movement represents a sea change in the art world. The not-for-profit institution is one of the best ways for an artist with foresight to recreate what has historically been the role of the patron. Bettina Werner has established The Salt Queen Foundation during her most productive years when the need is greatest in the management of her own creations. In this endeavor, she hopes other artists will recognize the paradigm shift, and trust non-profit institutions as the wave of the future.
Who is The Salt Queen ?
The title Queen of Salt refers to Bettina Werner's faithful devotion as the first artist who exhaustively investigated the potential of salt as an artistic medium creating paintings, sculptures and installations with her invention of textured colorized salt.
Why salt ?
Bettina Werner is drawn to paint and sculpt with salt because of its long history and intimate necessity in human life. In Italy salt represents knowledge and wisdom. This is because of the ubiquitous mineral's vital importance to human health and the development of civilization, as well as its metaphysical and metaphorical legends. Because of its necessity in human health, salt is used by every culture for food preservation and cooking. At times in the past, salt was more valuable than treasure. Salt figures in many marriages and religious customs. It has been a mainstay of trade all over the world, and in some places has functioned as currency. Its hundreds of uses include dying fabrics, tanning leather and medicine. Most of this planet is covered in salt water. There is a wonderful mystery in the fact that human blood, sweat and tears are about the same salinity as the ocean.
What gave the Artist the idea of creating art with salt ?
The mystery and history of salt as well as its beautiful crystalline quality attracted the Artist while studying painting at the prestigious Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy. She desired a medium capable of expressing her own unique vision, something new, not really explored yet in the art world. It came in her mind like an idea, a strong intuition. While still a student she experimented with combinations of pigments and the myriad gradations into which salt can be reduced. She developed the technique of fixing salt crystals with colors that render what is a mutable compound into a permanent surface that attracts the eye with millions of reflecting facets transmuting a single color into all possible shades.
Where has the Artist's work been exhibited ?
Bettina Werner's artworks reside in prestigious collections, fine homes and premier office spaces all over the world. Her paintings, sculptures and environmental installations have been exhibited in Museum and galleries in Europe and the Americas. Including: The Whitney Museum, The Detroit Institute of Art, Portofino Museum, Italy, The Chase Manhattan Bank, The Collection of Herbert and Dorothy Vogel at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., The Collection of Martin Margulies of Miami and The Collection of Nicos Vernicos of Athens, Greece. Bettina Werner has been featured in art textbooks throughout Europe such as recently released, "Arte del Novecento" (Art of the Ninteen Hundreds) by Miriam Mirolla and Guido Zucconi, through the prestigious Italian publishing house Mondadori Universita' 2002. She has been included in the "Arte Moderna," by Giulio Carlo Argan,an art texbook used throughout Italy's Schools, and described as a "definitive artist of the new millennium."
Who will benefit from The Foundation?
In addition to the permanent collection of Bettina Werner's original artworks, The Salt Queen Foundation will offer a study center with a wide variety of materials available for future generations to consult. Benefits will accrue to other artists working with experimental media in studio sessions, group exhibits and workshops. Schools and children will benefit from the Foundation's educational mission, and other non-profit organizations will be benefited through unique artistic charity events where art and life are married in joyous celebration.
The Salt Queen Foundation is a non-profit educational institution, tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the
U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations of any size are gratefully accepted and tax deductible to the full extent of the law
in the United States. Checks should be made payable to The Salt Queen Foundation and mailed to:
The Salt Queen Foundation Office
969 First Avenue, Suite 2R
New York, New York 10022
Copyright 2002-2007 The Salt Queen FoundationAll Rights Reserved