[ Museum of Contemporary Art ]

"Panza: The legacy of a collector"
opens of the museum of the contemporary art

LOS ANGELES - "Panza: The Legacy of a Collector" is an exhibition of one of the most internationally respected collections of contemporary American and European art, that of Count Giuseppe and Mrs. Giovanna Panza di Biumo. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience the evolution of various aspects of contemporary art as seen through the perspective of the discerning collector. On view at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) at California Plaza (250 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles)f it is divided into two parts: The Panza Collection, December 12, 1999 through April 30, 2000 and The Panza Gift, January 30 through April 30, 2000.
The Panza Collection consists of eighty historically significant works purchased by MOCA in 1984, featuring works of abstract expressionism and pop art by Jean Fautrier, Franz Kline, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Mark Rothko, George Segal, and Antoni Tapies. The Panza Gift, given to the museum in 1994, is comprised of seventy works of painting and sculpture created between 1982 and 1993 by Los Angeles artists Lawrence Carroll, Greg Colson, Jeff Colson, Ron Griffin, Mark Lere, Gregory Mahoney, Ross Rudel, Peter Shelton, Robert Therrien, and Roy Thurston. "Panza: The Legacy of a Collector" is organized for MOCA by associate curator Connie Butler.

Spanning a period from 1943 to the present, the works from the Panza Collection illustrate major movements or tendencies in postwar art including abstract expressionism and the New York School, pop art, assemblage, eccentric abstraction, and post-minimalism. Representing some of Dr. Panza's earliest acquisitions are masterpieces by abstract expressionists Franz Kline and Mark Rothko from the 1950s; an in-depth selection of work that articulates the significant contributions of the New York School to the art of the twentieth-century.

Further attesting to Dr. Panza's early and keen commitment to collecting in-depth are the large number of works in the exhibition by a number of seminal artists who rose to prominence in the transition from abstract expressionism to early pop figuration. In 1961 Dr. Panza purchased sixteen sculptures from The Store, Oldenburg's historic storefront installation of soft, sculptural domestic objects. The eleven Rauschenberg "combines" are internationally regarded as comprising one of the finest museum collections of this artist's work. Early pop paintings by Lichtenstein and Rosenquist demonstrate these artists' use of cultural icons and a depersonalized painting style.

The acquisitions Dr. Panza has made since 1987 exemplify his interest in art that represents the relationship between form, surface, and meaning as shown in the work of California artists. Therrien and Shelton, whose sculpture emerges from post-minimalism, use formal composition and highly personal imagery. In addition, Panza pursued his interest in geometric form and abstraction through works that refer to nature and the human body by Jeff Colson, Lere, Mahoney, and Rudel. Griffin and Greg Colson both cull from the debris of culture, reworking narratives of the desert and the urban environment into personal abstract languages of painting and sculptural assemblage.
Since he began collecting, Dr. Panza has pursued new work by artists he believes are making original contributions to late twentieth-century culture. He sees art not as an isolated activity but as a creative undertaking that is an expression of the human condition. The collection he amassed with his wife, and his commitment to collecting artists' work in-depth, provided a formative influence to MOCA in its early years. As a founding trustee of the museum, Dr. Panza's vision helped shape MOCA's collection in its commitment to the work of major international and California artists.



The exhibition will be accompanied by a 248-page fully illustrated catalogue Panza: The Legacy of a Collector, including an introductory essay by Dr. Panza; and essays by art historian Caroline A. Jones on The Panza Collection and by art critic Kenneth Baker on The Panza Gift. In addition, the catalogue will include biographies, bibliographies, and individual entries on each of the nineteen artists. The publication is distributed by RAM.