press release

One of the largest and most significant gifts of art in The Museum of Modern Art's history, a group of 85 major contemporary works by 33 European and American artists, is on view for the first time from September 30, 1997through January 20, 1998. On the Edge: Contemporary Art from the Werner and Elaine Dannheisser Collection comprises paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and video installations given to the Museum by Elaine Dannheisser and the Dannheisser Foundation last year. Some of the larger works will be presented in a rotating selection during the course of the exhibition. (Send of release for a complete list of the artists whose works are represented.)

Organized by Robert Storr, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, On the Edge: Contemporary Art from the Werner and Elaine Dannheisser Collection reveals an ensemble exceptional in its combination of range and focus. Assembled over the last decade and a half, the collection on view incorporates a breadth of works from the minimalist sculptures of Carl Andre and Richard Serra to the austere paintings of Robert Ryman and Brice Marden. The exhibition also includes the unnerving videos, drawings,and installations of Bruce Nauman, the staged photographs of Cindy Sherman,the subtle conceptual projects of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and the uncanny objects of Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, and Matthew Barney.

Mr. Storr remarks, "Greatly strengthening the Museum's holdings in classic Minimalism, neo-Expressionism, and neo-Dada, as well as conceptual art and various new forms of photography, the Dannheisser Collection provides a detailed and discerning overview of some of the best and most provocative work produced in our day."

Elaine Dannheisser has had a long association with The Museum of Modern Art. Named a member of the Board of Trustees in 1996, she has also served as a member of the Museum's Committee on Painting and Sculpture and of the International Council since 1990. An aspiring painter in the late 1940s and student of art history and interior design and decorating, Mrs. Dannheisser began acquiring art with her late husband, Werner, and has been a collector of important modern works for four decades.

In his introduction to the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Kirk Varnedoe, Chief Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, writes,"From [the collection's] earliest moment, it has been the product of a constant process of change and refinement that has always pushed it toward more precise selectivity, more risk-taking engagement with recent art, and higher degrees of uncompromising toughness in the particular pieces selected . . . We salute not only the wonderful quality of the artworks [Mrs. Dannheisser] has brought together, but also her personal tenacity, her acumen as it has evolved over decades of collecting, and the intensity of her engagement with contemporary art."

The Dannheisser collection is distinguished by its holdings of work in virtually every medium by both established modern figures and some of the most radical and provocative young artists of the past decade. Notable for its balanced representation of both American and European artists, the group of works underscores connections between parallel activities on the two continents over the last quarter century.

Large concentrations of work by Gober (nine pieces),Gonzalez-Torres (six pieces), Nauman (ten pieces), and Sigmar Polke (sixpieces) provide MoMA with the most extensive holdings of these artists to be found in the United States.

Other highlights in the exhibition include an important example of Joseph Beuys's reliquary vitrines; April 24, 1990(1990) from On Kawara's Today series; four major pieces by Koons; a 1971 encaustic diptych and Vine (1991-93), the Museum's first significant acquisition of a webwork painting, by Marden; and Polke's works on paper and canvas from the early 1970s to 1992, among them a primary example of his double-sided transparency paintings of the late 1980s. Also represented are important photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gilbert & George, Dan Graham, Andreas Gursky, and Thomas Struth, sculptures by Katharina Fritsch, and paintings by Anselm Kiefer.

On the Edge
Contemporary Art from the Werner and Elaine Dannheisser
Kurator: Robert Storr

Künstler: Carl Andre, Richard Serra, Robert Ryman, Brice Marden, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Matthew Barney ...