LACMA Goes on Acquisitions Spree Over Collectors Committee Weekend

Feng Mengbo, Long March: Restart (2008), purchased with funds provided by Jane and Marc Nathanson, Ann Colgin and Joe Wender, Mary and David Solomon, Carolyn and John Diemer, and Bryan Lourd through the 2014 Collectors Committee. © image: Feng Mengbo.

Last weekend the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) held its annual Collectors Committee Gala, at which the same-named committee voted on whether or not to acquire some nine artworks ranging from a recent Roni Horn glass sculpture to Ingres’s Odalisque (1825–35). The Collectors Committee, which consists of some 87 couples, ultimately voted to acquire all the pieces up for debate, LACMA’s Unframed blog reports. Bolstered by another, non-negotiable acquisition—of Helen Pashgian’s Light Invisible installation currently on view at LACMA, courtesy of trustee Carole Bayer Sager—the museum’s collection increased by a total of 10 works, all in a weekend’s work.

“Carole Bayer Sager’s generous gift was a wonderful way to start the Collectors Committee gala,” museum president Michael Govan told the Los Angeles Times. “The good news kept coming after that, with the acquisition of all nine artworks that were proposed by LACMA’s curators.”

The weekend-long Collectors Committee Gala, one of LACMA’s biggest fundraising events, netted some $4.1 million to go toward acquisitions. Other works snapped up by the committee include a pair of large-scale wooden sculptures of lions from circa-9th century Japan, and the 18th-century painting Virgin of Guadalupe (Virgen de Guadalupe) by Antonio de Torres, a seminal early Mexican artist.

At the more contemporary end of the spectrum, the acquisitions spree also saw the addition of one of Nancy Grossman‘s iconic BDSM mask-inspired sculptures, No Name (1968)—surprisingly, LACMA’s first Grossman piece—and a 1952 print by Pablo Picasso depicting one of his favorite subjects, a bullfight. But the biggest acquisition, certainly architecturally but perhaps also symbolically is Feng Mengbo‘s interactive video game installation Long March: Restart (2008). In the game, which museum-goers play by operating a wireless controller in the gallery, you control a Red Army soldier armed with cans of Coca-Cola who must fight off various symbols of China’s modern history.

Also acquired during the gala were Mitra Tabizian‘s 2006 photograph Tehran and a nine-foot-tall poster from 1896 designed by the renowned Scottish artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the Scottish Musical Review.

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