Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New. MoMA, December 21, 2013 – April 21, 2014

Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Ileana Sonnabend. 1973. Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, two panels, 40 x 80″ (101.6 x 203.2 cm). The Sonnabend Collection. © 2013 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Ileana Sonnabend at Roy Lichtenstein opening at her Galerie Ileana Sonnabend in Paris, 1963

During 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. Among the important works she owned is Robert Rauschenberg’s Combine Canyon (1959), which the Sonnabend family donated to The Museum of Modern Art in 2012. In celebration of this extraordinary gift, Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the Newexplores Sonnabend’s legendary eye through selected works of art that she presented in her eponymous galleries in Paris and New York.

Renowned for her ambassadorial role in bringing new art across the Atlantic, Sonnabend was instrumental in introducing American Pop art and Minimalism to Europe and Italian Arte Povera to the United States. She also sought out and supported some of the most noncommercial and challenging Conceptual, new-media, and performance-based art of the 1970s. The exhibition includes works by approximately 40 artists, including Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Morris, Mario Merz, Vito Acconci, Mel Bochner, John Baldessari, and Jeff Koons. Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New reveals the astounding scope of Sonnabend’s taste and salutes her commitment to introducing groundbreaking art to the public. [Press release]

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Among the works included in the exhibition is Jannis Kounellis’ Da inventare sul posto (to invent on the spot), 1972, which comprises a painting and a performance featuring a violinist and a ballerina, presented at specific times throughout the exhibition.

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