Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New
December 21, 2013–April 21, 2014MEMBER PREVIEWS ON NOW MEMBER EARLY HOURS
Special Exhibitions Gallery, third floor
During a career spanning half a century, Ileana Sonnabend (1914–2007) helped shape the course of postwar art in Europe and North America. A gallerist and noted collector, Sonnabend discovered and championed many of the most significant artists of her time. Among the important works she owned is Robert Rauschenberg's Combine Canyon (1959), which the Sonnabend family donated to The Museum of Modern Art in 2012. In celebration of this extraordinary gift, Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New explores Sonnabend’s legendary eye through selected works of art that she presented in her eponymous galleries in Paris and New York.
Renowned for her ambassadorial role in bringing new art across the Atlantic, Sonnabend was instrumental in introducing American Pop art and Minimalism to Europe and Italian Arte Povera to the United States. She also sought out and supported some of the most noncommercial and challenging Conceptual, new-media, and performance-based art of the 1970s. The exhibition includes works by approximately 40 artists, including Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Morris, Mario Merz, Vito Acconci, Mel Bochner, John Baldessari, and Jeff Koons. Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New reveals the astounding scope of Sonnabend’s taste and salutes her commitment to introducing groundbreaking art to the public.
This exhibition is organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Claire Lehmann, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.
The exhibition is supported by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.
Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New
Da inventare sul posto
Among the works included in the exhibition Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New is Jannis Kounellis's Da inventare sul posto (To invent on the spot) (1972), which comprises both a painting and a performance featuring a violinist and ballerina. While the painting is on view at all times, live performances are presented at specific times throughout the exhibition. These performances are facilitated in collaboration with Brooklyn Ballet.
The Everyday World of Ileana Sonnabend’s Artists
Dealer/collector Ileana Sonnabend championed artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Giovanni Anselmo, and Jim Dine, who addressed and challenged contemporary culture and the traditions of art through the employment of everyday materials and familiar objects. Let’s look together at how these artists defamiliarize what we think we know—and generate fresh meaning—by recontextualizing and aestheticizing ordinary objects and images from the world around us.
Ileana Sonnabend: Embracing Unusual Materials
An early supporter of Neo-Dada, Pop Art, and Arte Povera movements, gallerist Ileana Sonnabend promoted artists who experimented with non-conventional materials and challenged the traditional art forms of painting and sculpture. Explore the use of materials in works by Robert Rauschenberg, John McCracken, Giovanni Anselmo, Pier Paolo Calzolari, and others through the perspectives of art history and conservation.
Impress your valentine with an unforgettable evening! Join us for an elegant reception and an exclusive tour of our collection.
Upon arrival you'll be greeted with a candlelit wine reception complemented by hors d'oeuvres, such as smoked salmon wrapped celery hearts with crème fraîche and black American caviar. To complete this romantic evening, you'll receive a sweet treat before embarking on a private group tour after the Museum has closed to the public.
In the company of a knowledgeable and engaging art historian, you'll explore such beloved masterworks as Henri Matisse's Dance (I) (1909), Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World (1948), and Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night (1889). A visit to the special exhibition Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New rounds out the tour.
The Legacy of Gallerist and Collector Ileana Sonnabend
Join us for a session that explores the vibrant art scene that Ileana Sonnabend helped to create and learn how her intuitive eye, her love of art and her daring choices to exhibit artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns, helped change the course of art history.