• Thursday, October 1, 2020

Contemporary Art New York City

Art Ambassador
March 19, 2014
By , Galavante Contributor

The show: Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The dates: Through April 21, 2014

The space: The Ileana Sonnabend exhibit, which unfolds on MoMA’s third floor, demands its viewers to stay present on the impressive range of modern artists. With a career spanning half a century, Ileana Sonnabend (1914–2007) helped shape the course of postwar art in Europe and North America. A gallerist and noted collector, Sonnabend discovered and championed many of the most significant artists of her time. She was renowned for bringing new art to both sides of the Atlantic, introducing American Pop Art and Minimalism to Europe and Italian Arte Povera to the United States. 

The artists: The artists who Sonnabend represented stand out as the best-known of their time, including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Gilbert & George, Fischli/Weiss and Claes Oldenburg.

The exhibit: Collectively, the works on display compose a power play of the modern art scene. So much so that the exhibit rooms seem to exude an energy that’s far larger than the space. Of note is Rauschenberg Canyon, which was donated by Sonnabend’s family to MoMA in 2012. All the pieces on display intertwine to create a narrative of Sonnabend’s taste. And some highlight the novelty of the gallerist’s eye, such as John Baldessari's Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line, a series of photographs that were a part of a groundbreaking movement of L.A. artists.

Photo credits:
Roy Lichtenstein (United States, 1923–1997). Little Aloha. 1962. Acrylic on canvas. 44 1/16 x 42 1/8″ (111.9 x 107 cm). The Sonnabend Collection. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

James Rosenquist. Volunteer. 1963-64. Oil on canvas. 72 x 78”. The Art Institute of Chicago. Through prior acquisitions of Mary and Leigh Block, Samuel P. Avery Endowment, and Mr. and Mrs. Carter H. Harrison; Robert and Marlene Baumgarten Fund; estate of Solomon Byron Smith; Constance Obright and Samuel and Sarah Deson Memorial funds. Art © James Rosenquist/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY