Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection
9/28/2013 - 1/5/2014

What's Pictured: (Above) Edward Ruscha (b. 1937), Give Him Anything and He’ll Sign It, 1965, oil on canvas, 57 3/8 x 55 1/4 x 1 3/4 in., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, promised gift of Emily Fisher Landau, P.2010.257. Art © Ed Ruscha. Photography by Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art.

In 2010, Emily Fisher Landau gave her collection of contemporary art to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. This historic gift — which includes 419 artworks by eighty-nine artists — is significant not just for its size, but also for the remarkable breadth of media and styles it encompasses. Legacy presents a selection of more than seventy artworks from that gift. Featuring painting, sculpture, photography, and prints, this exhibition reflects Mrs. Landau’s longstanding commitment to the art and artists of her own time.

Mrs. Landau began collecting art in the late 1960s, acquiring the work of modern masters from both the United States and Europe. Early purchases included pieces by Pablo Picasso, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, and Henri Matisse, among others. By 1987, the year she joined the Whitney’s Painting and Sculpture Acquisitions Committee, Mrs. Landau’s focus had turned almost exclusively toward art being made in America. This shift in attention to artists working close to home would become a trademark of Mrs. Landau’s collection. Over the last several decades, she has become personally acquainted with a number of the artists whose work she has purchased, visiting their studios to keep her finger on the pulse of what new art looks like.

The Landau collection is distinguished not only by its excellence, but also by a spirit of adventure and open-mindedness: “I’ve never collected something because it was fashionable,” Mrs. Landau once said. “It was always about what I instinctively liked.” Such an approach has often required her to call prevailing tastes into question, resulting in a collection that defies the notion that a single, overriding narrative can be attached to the history of art made after 1945. Tracing many of the concepts that have been formative in American art-making, particularly over the last fifty years, Legacy brings together seminal works by some of the most influential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Works by Carl Andre and Agnes Martin define and expand the confines of Minimalism; Gregory Crewdson and Lorna Simpson highlight new approaches to photography; Jenny Holzer and Glenn Ligon investigate the intersection of image and language; and Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Nan Goldin represent a revived interest in the role of personal narrative. Also highlighted in the exhibition are several artists that Mrs. Landau has collected in-depth, including Jasper Johns, Richard Artschwager, and Ed Ruscha.

Mobile Legacy
Free Wi-Fi is now available in all Joslyn galleries. Guests should bring a mobile device or borrow one of Joslyn’s (free of charge, valid driver’s license required) to access the dual language exhibition mobile tour, presented by Joslyn and OnCell. Call (402) 881-3601 (English) or (402) 972-4031 (Spanish). Tour access information also available at the Museum and, beginning September 28, by clicking here.

Exhibition Related Events

Members-only Opening
On Friday, September 27, Joslyn members will enjoy a private preview of Legacy. At 6 pm, Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, will give an overview of the exhibition. The presentation will be followed by gallery viewing. Complimentary light hors d’oeuvres will be served, and a cash bar will be available. Invitations were mailed to all Joslyn members. Others interested in attending may join Joslyn online today. 

Curator Gallery Talks
Karin Campbell, Joslyn’s Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art, will present gallery talks about the Legacy exhibition on Thursdays, October 10 and November 7. The gallery talks are free and begin at
6:30 pm (cash bar opens at 5 pm).

Family Fun Day
Sunday, October 13,
from 1 to 4 pm, enjoy a free afternoon inspired by Joslyn’s exhibitions Legacy and The Lorax. Guests will weave a narrative while investigating a work of art with local storyteller Rita Paskowitz and jump in on a collaborative, text-based activity inspired by Carl Andre’s Gazetteer (1964; featured in the exhibition) and the word “place.” Art-making stations include “On the Surface” (collages of maps, wood grain, and more, with images painted over top); “Some Assembly Required” (found-object sculptures made from drinking straws); and “Truffula Paintings” (forests of brightly-colored Truffula tufts, just like in The Lorax, painted with hand-made sponge brushes).

Family Fun Day is free and supported in part by the Joslyn Art Museum Association.

Framing the Flame: Art That Ignites
On Thursday, December 19, Joslyn presents “Framing the Flame: Art That Ignites,” an exhibition-inspired gallery program beginning at 6 pm (cash bar opens at 5 pm). Speakers will include Marissa Vigneault, assistant professor of practice in modern and contemporary art history at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Weston Thomson, artist and interim executive director of The Kent Bellows Studio & Center for Visual Arts; and artist Ying Zhu. Vigneault, Thomson, and Zhu will each speak for ten minutes about a work in the Legacy exhibition that “lights their fire,” shedding light on how art inspires, engages, and delights them and impacts their own work. Following this free program, visitors may continue the conversation with the speakers and Karin Campbell, Joslyn’s Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art, in the galleries or over drinks in the ConAgra Foods Atrium.