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The Panza Collection: An Experience of Color and Light

Friday, November 16, 2007Sunday, February 24, 2008

Installation view of The Panza Collection: An Experience of Color and Light (November 16, 2007–February 24, 2008). Photograph by Alessandro Zambianchi – Simply. it, Milano.

1905 Building

The Panza Collection: An Experience of Color and Light will include more than 70 works of art from the Panza Collection, which is now dispersed in Varese, Lugano, New York, and Los Angeles. In consultation with Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, whose vision has guided the project from the start, Director Louis Grachos and Chief Curator Douglas Dreishpoon have selected the objects and artists to be featured.

Color and light are the key concepts used to select and organize this exhibition, which explores the use of these elements by artists from the 1960s to the present. Beginning with artworks by pioneers in the use of actual light—fluorescent light in works by Dan Flavin and Robert Irwin, and Bruce Nauman’s use of neon light—the exhibition continues to the present with the visual light embodied in monochromatic paintings and sculptures by such artists as David Simpson, Phil Sims, Anne Truitt, and Anne Appleby. The exhibition not only traces this historical development of color and light in contemporary art, it also illuminates the continuing evolution of Panza’s philosophic interest in these elements, as realized in many of the works of art he has collected since 1956. A discrete installation is devoted to each of the 16 artists, highlighting Panza’s penchant for collecting an artist’s work in-depth and allowing for more concentrated study of each artist included.

Panza has been a passionate art collector since the late 1950s, when he acquired important paintings by Mark Rothko and Yves Klein, and to date has amassed a collection of more than 2,500 works of art in all media. Now in his 80s, Panza still ascribes to the firm belief that one must collect artworks because of a love of beauty and his own search for meaning and spiritual integrity. Panza’s sense of beauty has proved to be quite astute, as many of the artworks he has collected over the years are now iconic examples of the periods they represent.

Panza has said: “To be a good collector you have to think a lot, to see a lot, to judge with care, not let yourself be dragged along too much by enthusiasm. One should make decisions slowly and buy what you like. And you need great faith in yourself. I bought artwork against the opinions of everyone.”

This exhibition is organized by Director Louis Grachos and Chief Curator Douglas Dreishpoon.