Release Date: April 27, 2016
Janine Antoni, Sally Mann, Christina Ramberg, and Roger Brown Acquisitions Made Possible by the Collectors Committee Enter the National Gallery of Art's Collection
Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art recently acquired Lick and Lather (1993) by Janine Antoni, arguably her most famous work, two untitled photographs by Sally Mann, and eight images by Chicago Imagist artists Christina Ramberg and Roger Brown.
"The Collectors Committee, with the generous support of other donors, has enhanced the Gallery's growing contemporary holdings with groundbreaking works by Janine Antoni and Sally Mann as well as the addition to the Gallery's Chicago Imagist collection of works on paper," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are very grateful to the Collectors Committee for their continued support of the Gallery's collection of modern art."
Janine Antoni, Lick and Lather (1993)
This iteration of Lick and Lather, the only extant set of 14 busts, was first shown at the 1993 Venice Biennale, and later that year at the Sandra Gehring Gallery in New York. To make the work, Antoni cast her own head and shoulders from life in two materials, chocolate and soap, producing seven of each. She then licked the chocolate busts and bathed with the soap casts, re-shaping her "self-portrait." Lick and Lather reflects on the nature of cast sculpture as a reproductive medium while questioning the idealizing tradition of classical sculpture, and the mutable character of contemporary materials. The 14 busts may be arranged in two parallel rows of seven, with the chocolate busts facing the soap busts, or in a circle, depending on the architectural setting.
Antoni is a leading contemporary artist whose performative work has consistently employed her body as a tool, transforming the processes of daily rituals–like eating and washing—into art. The results create a rich inter-media oeuvre comprising photography, video, sculpture, and installation, that weave together primal concerns of the mind and body. Antoni emerged with a generation of peers, including Glenn Ligon and Byron Kim, whose concerns with identity and social relations direct their respective work.
Born in Freeport, Bahamas, in 1964, Antoni received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence in 1986, and a M.A. in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989 before moving to New York, where she continues to live and work. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 1999, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2011, a 2012 Creative Capital Artist Grant, the 2014 Anonymous Was A Woman award, and a 2014 project grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to collaborate with choreographers Anna Halprin and Stephen Petronio at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia on an exhibition opening in 2016.
Sally Mann, Deep South #16 (Three Drips) (1998) and Battlefields #27 (Battle, Cold Harbor) (2003)
In the mid-1990s, Mann turned her attention from the intimate photographs of her children to the American South, a muse that had been a constant presence in her life and the background. At this time, she also began to investigate 19th-century photographic processes, notably the wet collodion method of making negatives, which she said allowed her to capture "the radical light of the South."
Although the Gallery owns 25 photographs by Mann, the two new acquisitions are the first from her important series on Southern landscapes and Civil War battlefields to enter the collection, made possible with additional support from the Sarah and William L Walton Fund. In Deep South #16 (Three Drips) (1998), made in a miasmal swamp, and Battlefields #27 (Battle, Cold Harbor) (2003), made at the Cold Harbor battlefield outside Richmond, Virginia, a Civil War site of a horrific loss of life, she explores the meaning of the South as place and identity, homeland and graveyard, refuge and battleground.
Born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1951, Mann received bachelor's and master's degrees in creative writing from Hollins College in Roanoke, Va., in 1974 and 1976. She published her first book of photographs, Second Sight, in 1983, and her second book, At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women, in 1988. The 1992 publication Immediate Family—intimate pictures of her husband and children set in the Arcadian landscape surrounding their summer cabin on the Maury River in Lexington—brought her to national attention. Since then, she has published many books, including What Remains (2003) and Deep South (2005). In 2015, her highly acclaimed memoir, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, was a finalist for a National Book Award and won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-Fiction. She has received grants from numerous institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Chicago Imagists Christina Ramberg and Roger Brown
The Gallery's rapidly expanding collection of Chicago Imagist art is enhanced with the addition of eight works on paper by Christina Ramberg (1946–1995) and Roger Brown (1941–1997). First gaining attention in the late 1960s, the artists who became known as Chicago Imagists were affiliated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and exhibited at Chicago's Hyde Park Art Center under the names Hairy Who, Nonplussed Some and False Image. The work of this loosely affiliated group was stylistically diverse, consistently figurative, and drew upon popular culture as well as surrealist, vernacular, and outsider art.
The three untitled drawings by Ramberg acquired by the Gallery depict the female body in various poses, wearing tight-fitting undergarments evocative of the 1940s. Made early in her career, between 1968 and 1973, they recall the surrealist fascination with fetishism and psychosexual tension. Heads and Back-to-Back, both from 1973, depict backs of heads and women's torsos bound tightly in sheathing, almost like body armor.
Two 1977 etchings, Sinking and Standing While All Around Are Sinking, reveal Brown's idiosyncratic view of the world with high-rise buildings that lean and sink into the ground and inhabitants that are visible through brightly lit windows. Brown's color woodcut, Family Tree Mourning Print (1987), relates to Victorian-era mourning prints portraying women standing beside gravestones, their heads bowed in grief. The woman in Brown's composition stands near a tree, whose leafy branches are inscribed with names of wars fought either on American soil or by American soldiers.
Beginning in early 2015, the Gallery expanded its collection of works by Chicago Imagist artists with three works acquired from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 17 works donated by Washington collectors Bob Stana and Tom Judy, and 15 works purchased by the Gallery. With the acquisition of these eight works on paper by Ramberg and Brown using Collectors Committee funds, the Gallery now has a solid foundation of Chicago Imagist art on which to build.
Prints, Drawings, Illustrated Books, and Photographs at the National Gallery of Art
The Gallery's collection of prints, drawings and illustrated books consists of more than 117,000 works on paper (prints, drawings, watercolors, illuminated manuscripts and illustrated books) by European and American artists that date from the 12th century to the present day. Works on paper not on view may be studied by appointment in the Gallery's Print and Drawing Study Rooms by calling (202) 842-6380 (European works) or (202) 842–6605 (American works) or e-mail [email protected]. The study room for European works of art on paper is located in the East Building and the study room for American works of art on paper is in the West Building.
The Gallery's photography collection includes some 15,000 works spanning the history of the medium from 1839 to the present. The strengths of the collection are large and important groups by several major 20th-century American photographers, such as Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Robert Adams. To make an appointment to view photographs, call (202) 842-6144 or e-mail [email protected]
The Collectors Committee, formed in 1975, helps select and finance commissions to fill the public spaces of the East Building. It has established a curatorial discretionary fund for acquiring prints, drawings and photographs to acquire major 20th- and 21st-century paintings and sculpture for the Gallery.
Founding benefactor Paul Mellon asked Ruth Carter Stevenson, chair of the Gallery's board of trustees from 1993 to 1997, to be the first chair of the Collectors Committee. Denise Saul and Kyle Krause are the current co-chairs of the Collectors Committee. A major collector of 20th-century art, Saul lives in New York with her husband Andrew and is a leading cultural philanthropist. CEO of the midwestern convenience store chain Kum & Go, Krause is a major collector of contemporary art and resides with his wife Sharon in West Des Moines, Iowa.
To date, the Collectors Committee has made possible the acquisition of some 300 works of art; approximately half of these are works by living artists. Major artists include Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Anselm Kiefer, Barbara Kruger, Norman Lewis, René Magritte, Kerry James Marshall, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, Martin Puryear, Gerard Richter, Wayne Thiebaud, and Anne Truitt.
Currently, there are 18 Collectors Committee acquisitions on view, as follows:
In the West Building in the special exhibition, Louise Bourgeoise: No Exit:
-Louise Bourgeois, Spring, 1949, painted balsa
-Louise Bourgeois, Mortise, 1950, painted wood
-Louise Bourgeois, Untited, 1952, painted wood and plaster
In the West Building in the special exhibition, Three Centuries of American Prints from the National Gallery of Art:
-Glenn Ligon, Untitled: Four Etchings [B], 1992, softground etching, aquatint, spitbite, and sugarlift aquatint in black on Rives BFK paper
-Martin Puryear, Untitled, 2001, etching and softground etching with drypoint and gampi on Somerset wove paper
-Kiki Smith, [untitled], 1990, lithograph in black on japan paper
In the East Building:
-Scott Burton, two settees, 1988, granite
-Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1976, aluminum and steel
-Anthony Caro, National Gallery Ledge Piece, 1978, welded steel
-Max Ernst, Capricorn, model 1948, cast 1975, bronze
-Roni Horn, Opposite of White, v. 2 (Large) (A), 2006–2007, solid cast black glass with fire-polished top
-Michelangelo Pistoletto, Donna che indica (Woman who points), conceived 1962, fabricated 1982, silkscreen print on polished stainless steel
-David Smith, Sentinel I, 1957, steel
-Tony Smith, Die, model 1962, fabricated 1968, steel with oiled finish
In the Sculpture Garden:
-Scott Burton, Six-Part Seating, conceived 1985, fabricated 1998, polished granite
-Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 1989, bronze
-Tony Smith, Wandering Rocks, 1967, painted steel
For a full list of acquisitions made possible by the Collectors Committee, visit www.nga.gov/collection-search-result.html?credit=Collectors%20Committee&pageNumber=1
Laurie Tylec, (202) 842-6355 or [email protected]
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