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Columbus Museum of Art acquires Andy Warhol and Trevor Paglen works of art
Trevor Paglen, Reaper in the Sun, 2013. Columbus Museum of Art. Gift of the Contemporaries.

COLUMBUS, OH.- The Columbus Museum of Art today announced the recent acquisition of two extraordinary works of art: Andy Warhol’s Karen Lerner and Trevor Paglen’s Reaper in the Sun.

“It’s exciting to have our collection growing along with our building,” said Nannette V. Maciejunes, CMA Executive Director. “We’ve added our first Warhol painting, which is an incredibly important moment in the development of our collection. That the painting was given in memory of Shirle Westwater and the multi-generational relationship her family has had with the Museum only magnifies the significance of this piece.”

Shirle Nesbitt Westwater wasa strong supporter of the Museum, the first woman to serve on CMA’s board of trustees, and one of the founders of the Museum’s Women’s Board. Until recently, CMA’s only work by Warhol was an untitled 1964 serigraph from the race riot series, itself a gift from Mrs. Westwater and her husband, William K. Westwater. The portrait of Karen Lerner is a significant addition to the Museum’s holdings of Warhol’s Pop Art.

Warhol made fourteen silkscreen portraits of the television journalist and producer Karen Lerner. At the time, she was married to the famed lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner, creator of such musical pieces as My Fair Lady, Gigi, and Camelot. Warhol’s portraits are based on Polaroid photographs that were likely taken in early 1972 with his ubiquitous Big Shot camera. Karen Lerner will be a treasured addition to our collection.

The Museum also is proud to announce The Contemporaries selection for addition to the collection, Trevor Paglen’s Reaper in the Sun, 2013. The Contemporaries, a CMA interest group, nurtures the awareness, appreciation, and acquisition of contemporary art and photography among both new and established collectors within our community. Guided by CMA curators, The Contemporaries purchases works for CMA’s permanent collection.

"Trevor Paglen's work is both visually captivating and a reminder of government programs, like the ongoing drone war, that are largely invisible," said CMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Tyler Cann, "Reaper in the Sun is at once beautiful and troubling."

Photographer Trevor Paglen’s work deliberately blurs lines between science, contemporary art, journalism, and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched, ways to see and interpret the world around us. Reaper in the Sun forms one part of the artist’s ongoing series of photographs depicting drones controlled by the US military and Central Intelligence Agency. These images are taken from a remote vantage point at the boundaries of public access to the US installations from which these drones are based. Using high-power telephoto lenses from a distance of two to sixteen miles away, Paglen can capture a blurry close-up image of the aircraft, or he can picture them, as in this case, against the sky almost at the limit point of their visibility. In this particular image, the MQ-9 Reaper drone can be found on the lower left edge of the sun and is about the size of a mosquito.

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