Kai Althoff. Untitled. c. 1969. Felt-tip pen on paper, 8 1/4 × 11 11/16″ (21 × 29.7 cm). Collection the artist. © Kai Althoff

“Within an environment envisioned by the artist upon seeing the gallery allotted to him, he arranges work stemming from his early youth to the very present, in a manner of a child being handed toys, new and old: some are cherished and idolized, some are semi-precious in rank, some are abandoned and neglected in slumber of increasing hate generating towards them. Some are loved to the utmost, so much he’d want to hold onto them until the very last moment before death, and beyond.

“The work being treated as such will be comprised of fragments of former larger scale environments, drawings, paintings, objects found and fabricated. In ‘and then leave me to the common swifts’, nothing is an attempt of recreating the original composition of when these works were displayed each for its first time. Instead the artist gives in to whatever his innate forces originating in his emotions command him to do upon the encounter with this work, his very own, for the most part. The result is further also constrained by time or its lack, and the pressure created by complex sociological processes, which sometimes leads the artist to surrender to a fatalism otherwise strongly fought.”

Organized by Laura Hoptman, Curator, and Margaret Ewing, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

Generous funding for the exhibition is provided by the Ringier Collection, The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.

Special thanks to Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer and to Erik Bruce Fabrik.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund.

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