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The Gift: Building a Collection for the Queens Museum

Queens Museum
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 718-592-9700
Queens Misc.
November 20, 2005 - February 12, 2006
Reception: Sunday, November 20, 2 - 5 PM
Web Site

Featuring: Jaime Arredondo Isidro Blasco Bob Braine Cheng-Chi Chang Evelyn Eller Marietta Ganapin Chitra Ganesh Terence Gower Bolek Greczynski Ellen Harvey Tamar Hirschl Jenny Holzer Eric Hongisto Masayuki Kawai Shin il Kim Abigail Lazkoz Pia Lindman Larry Litt Nava Lubelski Rita McBride and Discoteca Flaming Star John L. Moore John Morris Yamini Nayar Nils Norman Eung-Ho Park Fernando Renes Troy Richards Raymond Saá SLAAP! Brian Tolle Julian LaVerdiere Javier Viver Tom Warren Louise Weinberg

Traditionally museums keep collections. It is, in part, what defines them. Through the years the Queens Museum of Art has relied upon the generosity of collectors, artists and friends who have endowed this relatively young institution with a body of work of both contemporary and historical significance. The Museum’s collection, including the heart-stopper Panorama of the City of New York, has tripled in size over the past five years, from a core of approximately 5,000 items mainly related to the World’s Fairs, to a cache now including nearly 4,000 photographs from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, and an equal quantity of prints and drawings from the 1930s to the present. Additionally, in anticipation of the Museum’s upcoming expansion, we have also been fortunate to acquire large-scale sculptural installations that correspond to the expanse of the building’s uniquely shaped galleries.

The past five years have brought with them a number of acquisitions, among them six bodies of work, as well as contemporary pieces given by the artists who have become in many ways the Museum’s biggest supporters. As a Museum rooted in the World’s Fairs that took place on and around our site, two forgotten events from the 1939 and 1964 Fairs have been the focus of past exhibitions, and have since become crucial parts of our permanent collection: a body of photographs capturing Salvador Dalì in the midst of creating his 1939 Surrealist pavilion, the Dream of Venus; and Photography in the Fine Arts, an encyclopedic exhibition of 138 iconic images from the professional, commercial, and amateur worlds of photography shown in the Kodak Pavilion in 1965. These two collections, together with generous gifts from photographer and dealer of photographs Charles W. Schwartz and the selections from New York Noir: Crime Photos from the New York Daily News Archive have provided a cross-section of photography’s ascendancy from a 19th century document to a legitimate art form. Complementing these broad and concentrated photographic records are two collections of drawings and etchings by a pair of artists whose combination of artistic sensibility and social commentary shed light on the 20th century: John Sloan, whose etchings bring the highs and lows of New York City life in the first half of the 20th century to light; and William Sharp, whose drawings captured the rise of the Nazi regime, Cold War political tensions and the courtroom drama of the trials of Alger Hiss, Tokyo Rose and the Lindbergh kidnapper, Bruno Hauptmann.

These six major gifts have been a tremendous boon to the Museum’s collections, but so too have the many ambitious artists’ projects that have become the trademark of the Museum’s curatorial endeavor. The work shown here speaks volumes of these artists’ interest in assisting the Museum in building an important collection of contemporary work that addresses shifting trends in the international art community as well as the increasingly cosmopolitan dynamic of the borough of Queens.

Publication A collection of postcards will be available in the Museum Store in November.

Screenings Masayuki Kawai’s videos will be screened in the Theater on Sundays, January 15 & 29 and February 12, 2006 at 2:30 – 3:30pm.
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