About the work

In the past decade the source of funding, and the inherent power structures that stem from the founding sources, has been at the center of the art discourse, prompting BarabasiLab to bring the power of big data to this question. The Lab processed the tax forms of all nonprofit foundations in the past decade, to understand how foundations use their resources. Using 3,660,949 tax filings from foundations from 2010-2019, BarabasiLab mapped 8,186,055 grants to non-profit institutions, spending about $800 billion in this period. Philanthropy explores the totality of the philanthropic landscape, the twelve panels corresponding  to the twelve categories through which the tax code defines the areas of donations. The large purple panel (Image 12) unveils that universities are the largest recipient of foundation support, collecting $197 billion.  Art & Culture (Image 18), which contains all art categories, from performing to visual arts, received $37B, and Art Museums received just $3.7B over ten years. The relative size of the green panel captures the relatively modest  societal investment in art, compared to other categories of need. Each wood panel is accompanied with an online interface, that identifies the subcategories and the amount of funding associated with them.


Credit: A.-L. Barabási, L. Shekhtman, M. Gresa, A. Szűcs, D. Kármán, L Radvánszki, V. Csonka, B. Pál,  A. Dickova, A. Boruzs, K. Lázár, L. Pataki.

Shekhtman, L.M., Barabási, AL. Philanthropy in art: locality, donor retention, and prestige. Sci Rep 13, 12157 (2023).

Exhibited at Postmasters Gallery, New York, 2022

Interactive Versions 

Philanthropy No I, Higher Education

Philanthropy No II, Human Services

Philanthropy No III, (All Other) Health

Philanthropy No. IV, Public Benefit 

Philanthropy No V, Hospitals

Philanthropy No VI, (All Other) Education

Philanthropy No VII, Arts&Culture

Philanthropy No VIII, International

Philanthropy No IX, Religion

Philanthropy No X, Nature

Philanthropy No XI, Member Benefit

Philanthropy No XII, Other

Philanthropy No X, Nature, 2022 acrylic on board 21-1/8 x 26 x 1-5/8 in 53.7 x 66.2 x 4.2 cm  
Philanthropy No XI, Member Benefit, 2022 acrylic on board 15-3/4 x 1-1/2 x 1-5/8 in 40 x 3.8 x 4.2 cm  
Philanthropy No XII, Other, 2022 acrylic on board 4-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 1-5/8 in 11.4 x 3.8 x 4.2 cm  
Philanthropy No I, Higher Education, 2022 acrylic on board 78-3/4 x 71-1/4 x 1-5/8 in 200 x 181 x 4.2 cm
Philanthropy No II, Human Services, 2022 acrylic on board 78-1/2 x 43-7/8 x 1-5/8 in 199.5 x 111.3 x 4.2 cm
Philanthropies No. I through No. X shown at Postmasters Gallery, 2022.  Photo Credit: Emma Schwartz
Philanthropies shown at the Postmasters Gallery, 2022 exhibit.  Photo Credit: Emma Schwartz
Philanthropy No III, (All Other) Health, 2022 acrylic on board 54 x 47-1/2 x 1-5/8 in 137 x 120.7 x 4.2 cm
Philanthropy No IV, Public benefit, 2022 acrylic on board 53 x 47-1/2 x 1-5/8 in 134.5 x 120.7 x 4.2 cm
Philanthropy No V, Hospitals, 2022 acrylic on board 53-3/4 x 40-1/2 x 1-5/8 in 136.4 x 103 x 4.2 cm
Philanthropy No VI, (All Other) Education, 2022 acrylic on board 54-3/8 x 26-1/8 x 1-5/8 in 138.2 x 66.4 x 4.2 cm  
Philanthropy No VIII, International, 2022 acrylic on board 24 x 38-1/4 x 1-5/8 in 61 x 97 x 4.2 cm  
Philanthropy No IX, Religion, 2022 acrylic on board 28-1/2 x 26-1/8 x 1-5/8 in 72.5 x 66.5 x 4.2 cm  
Philanthropy No VII, Arts&Culture, 2022 acrylic on board 38-1/4 x 27-3/8 x 1-5/8 in 97 x 69.4 x 4.2 cm