NEW YORK.- The Museum of Modern Art has acquired Jasper Johns Tantric Detail trio of paintings and a major sculpture by Martin puryear, Director Glenn D. Lowry announced.
Tantric Detail I (1980), Tantric Detail II (1981), and Tantric Detail III (1981), by Jasper Johns (American, b. 1930), have been widely exhibited, analyzed, and studied, and are among the works that Johns has kept in his own collection. Each measures 50-1/2 inches highroughly equivalent to the torso area between the neck and the knees of a six-foot tall person, the height of the artistand is symmetrically dissected by a central vertical line, underscoring the reference to the body. Together, they eloquently speak to the moment of Johnss transition from a predominantly abstract practice toward one that bears subtle infusions of art-historical and personal references. Bringing the number of paintings by Johns in the collection to 19, this trio complements the Museums already extraordinary holdings, especially as they specifically address the themes of transience and mortality also evoked in other works. The paintings are a promised gift of MoMA trustee Donald L. Bryant, Jr. and Board President Marie-Josée Kravis and her husband Henry.
Martin puryears C.F.A.O. (2006-2007), which was featured in MoMAs recent retrospective of the artists career, enters the collection as a gift from the Museums Painting and Sculpture Committee in honor of John Elderfield, the Museums Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture and organizer of that exhibition, who this summer becomes the Museums Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture. For this work, puryear (American, b. 1941) affixed an oversized impression of a ceremonial mask from the Fang people of Gabon, West Africa, to an old wheelbarrow that he found while an artist-in-residence at Alexander Calders studio in Saché, France, a combination that suggests themes of colonization and cultural exchange between different societies (C.F.A.O. stands for Compagnie Française de lAfrique Occidentale, the name of a French trading company founded in the late nineteenth century that sailed between Marseille and West Africa, including ports in Sierra Leone, where puryear lived during a 1964-66 tour with the Peace Corps). As an artist whose work has been defined by an allegiance to abstraction and the hand-made object, this new approach suggests an attitudinal shift toward materials, ideas of authorship, and literal references in his work.
Each of these works represents a key historical moment in the artists career, said Mr. Lowry. The Museum is grateful to the generous trustees and supporters who have made these acquisitions possible, and it is perfectly fitting that John Elderfield is being honored with such a significant and elegant work of art.
These acquisitions strengthen the Museums collection in important ways, said Mr. Elderfield. The works by Johns reinforce our strong commitment to his work, and with the puryear we have acquired a new and innovative work by the artist.
Other new additions to the Museums collection of painting and sculpture include contemporary works by William Anastasi, Mark Bradford, Katharina Fritsch, Manfred Pernice, Franz West, Hannah Wilke, and Terry Winters.