The Brooklyn Museum and LACMA partner to acquire 200 photographic works by European women artists

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The Brooklyn Museum and LACMA partner to acquire 200 photographic works by European women artists
Hannah Starkey, Untitled, September 2006, 2006, c-print mounted on aluminum, 48 × 64 1/8 inches, promised gift of The Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl Photography Collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum, © Hannah Starkey, digital image courtesy of the artist, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles and Maureen Paley, London.

BROOKLYN, NY.- The Brooklyn Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced the joint acquisition of two hundred contemporary photographs by women artists from seventeen countries in Western and Eastern Europe. The generous gift comes from Houston-based collector Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl, whose expansive collection has been built over the course of twenty years and showcases an impressive range of styles and approaches to photography from that period. The collection features works by nearly ninety emerging and established women artists, including Yto Barrada, Carolle Bénitah, Melanie Bonajo, Natalie Czech, Eva Koťátková, Vera Lutter, Josephine Pryde, and Shirana Shahbazi. This is the Brooklyn Museum’s largest joint acquisition as well as the largest gift of contemporary photography ever received by the Museum, and bolsters its long-standing commitment to collecting works by women artists. The acquisition initiates the first long-term partnership between the two institutions and paves the way for development of more innovative and financially sustainable collecting strategies.

The gift will be made in installments over the next ten years, with the first including twenty works selected by Sir Mark. Works in subsequent installments will be chosen by Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator, Photography, Brooklyn Museum; Britt Salvesen, Curator and Head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and the Prints and Drawings Department, LACMA; and Eve Schillo, Assistant Curator, Wallis Annenberg Photography Department, LACMA, with Sir Mark. The gift will be supplemented over the next ten years by annual acquisitions of works by contemporary European women photographers, with the goal of augmenting and diversifying the Brooklyn Museum’s and LACMA’s permanent holdings. The two museums will also receive a donation of ten additional works from Sir Mark, selected in concert with the curators. Furthermore, Sir Mark’s gift includes the Haukohl Travel Grant, which provides resources to advance curatorial travel, research, and scholarship each year for the next decade, allowing curators to attend European photography fairs and exhibitions such as Les Rencontres d'Arles, ARCOmadrid, and Unseen Amsterdam, further enabling targeted additions to the collection by all three parties.

In addition to the gift, the Annenberg Foundation has made a grant to support LACMA's presentation of the forthcoming exhibition In the Now: Gender and Nation in Europe, Selections from the Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl Photography Collection, which opens November 14, 2021. The exhibition is co-organized by Britt Salvesen, Curator and Head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and the Prints and Drawings Department at LACMA; Eve Schillo, Assistant Curator, Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at LACMA; and Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography at the Brooklyn Museum. Following the presentation at LACMA, the exhibition will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in 2023.

“We are grateful to Sir Mark for his generous gift, which enables us to acquire and exhibit important works by women photographers active in the new millennium,” says LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan. “Even more exciting is the opportunity to broaden and deepen the field in close collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, thanks to Sir Mark’s support of curatorial research and scholarship.”

“The Brooklyn Museum is grateful for Sir Mark’s incredible generosity and his commitment to the patronage of women artists,” says Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum. “Amid stark financial realities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are having to think of new models that allow us to grow our collections and expand the narratives we tell through exhibitions. We’re proud to partner with LACMA to jointly acquire Sir Mark’s important collection, which highlights the crucial contributions by women photographers worldwide.”

Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl, a Houston-based art collector and philanthropist, is the co-founder of the Medici Archive Project, located in Florence, Italy. He owns one of the largest private collections of Florentine Baroque paintings, which date from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. His collection of works by contemporary European women photographers is one of the largest of its kind in the world. “I have been dedicated to supporting the great work of living women photographers across Europe for the past twenty years,” says Sir Mark, concluding that “It gives me great pleasure to now watch these two institutions showcase their artistic brilliance for new audiences. Especially during a period of financial difficulty, I’m delighted to help grow the photography departments at the Brooklyn Museum and LACMA.”

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