"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.