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The Panza Collection

The Panza Collection
Joseph Kosuth’s Box, Cube, Empty, Clear, Glass—a Description, 1965, from the Hirshhorn’s Collection, The Panza Collection, photo by Giorgio Colombo, Milan.

The Panza Collection 2

The Panza Collection 3The Panza Collection 4

October 23, 2008 to January 11, 2009
Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo is one of the world’s foremost collectors of American and European contemporary art. The Hirshhorn recently acquired thirty-nine works from Dr. Panza’s collection, all of which are on view this fall. As a group, the pieces provide an overview of the critical premises driving Conceptual, Light and Space, Minimal, and Environmental art. Created in the late 1960s and early 1970s by an international roster of artists, the works shed light on an era when many artists began to reject traditional media and aesthetic concerns. Instead, they redefined art in a broader range, from Conceptual works that favored ideas over the creation of unique objects to large-scale installations that challenge prevalent notions about the boundaries between an artwork and the surrounding environment.

The Panza Collection features paintings, sculptures, installations, film, and wall drawings that attest to the remarkable diversity of artistic practices that flourished amidst a wide-ranging interrogation of the nature and meaning of art. These artists dismissed conventional concerns in favor of an avid engagement with ideas, processes, social and political issues, the body, and phenomenological experiences. The acquisition includes multiple works by Joseph Kosuth, Robert Irwin, Robert Barry, Hamish Fulton, and On Kawara, among others, which will enable the Museum to survey these individuals’ most salient projects during a critical period in both their individual development and the trajectory of twentieth-century art.

Dr. Panza distinguished himself by his willingness to collect art that few museums or private collectors at the time were willing to acquire, such as Conceptual works that exist only as documentary certificates or room-sized installations that require vast storage space and significant resources to install. Now, as part of the Hirshhorn’s collection, these works offer visitors new perspectives on the art of this pivotal historical moment, as well as the ways contemporary artists continue to both draw on and reconsider the ideas of previous generations. This exhibition is organized by Associate Curator Evelyn Hankins in association with Giuseppe Panza.

The Panza Collection is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The exhibition is made possible by the Holenia Trust, in memory of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, the Friends of Jim and Barbara Demetrion Endowment Fund, and the Hirshhorn’s Board of Trustees, with additional support from the Museum’s National Benefactors.

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