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"New to the Print Collection: Matisse to Bourgeois" opens at the Museum of Modern Art
Jasper Johns. Flags I. 1973. Screenprint, 27 3/8 x 35 1/4″ (69.5 x 89.5 cm). Publisher: the artist and Simca Print Artists Inc., New York. Printer: Simca Print Artists Inc., New York. Edition: artist’s proof before the edition of 65. The Museum of Modenr Art, New York. Gift of Barbara Bertozzi Castelli, New York, 2011. © 2012 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York.
NEW YORK, NY.- This exhibition showcases some 80 prints and artists’ books the Museum has acquired over the past two years, and reveals how an art collection is always a work in progress. On view for the first time at MoMA, these seminal works in the history of printmaking span more than a century, from 1888 to 2011, with some contextualized by related works already in the collection. Pablo Picasso’s 1937 print The Weeping Woman, acquired in 2011, which filled one of the last major gaps in MoMA’s holdings of works by the artist, is shown alongside the third state of the same image that joined the collection in 1999. Likewise, the 1958 linoleum cut Solid as a Rock (My God Is Rock), by Charles White, acquired in 2010, is complemented by a lithograph by White that was donated to the Museum more than 40 years ago, and illuminates White’s widespread impact on a younger generation of artists. Other highlights include Jasper Johns’s celebrated screenprint Flags I (1973), two vertical flags printed with 31 screens, which adds a key example of Johns’ early screen printing to the collection. The exhibition also addresses more experimental processes that have often led to rare or one-of-a-kind works, from James Ensor’s hand-colored Deadly Sins (1888–1904) and a group of Henri Matisse’s monotypes (1914–15), to a recent monumental cyanotype by Christian Marclay.

The Museum of Modern Art’s collection of prints was inaugurated with the founding of the Museum itself, in November 1929: a group of German Expressionist prints were among the first objects MoMA acquired. Today, the Museum’s holdings in this area are remarkable in their scope; comprising more than fifty thousand works, they cover the period from the late nineteenth century to the present. The holdings are regularly reevaluated and reshaped by the Museum’s curators; works are routinely added, not only to fill gaps but also to give stronger emphasis to lesser-known or previously overlooked artists or practices, reflecting the ways in which new generations of scholars and artists are redefining the discipline of printmaking.

New to Print is organized by Christophe Cherix, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, with Judy Hecker, Assistant Curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books.

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June 14, 2012

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