Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years (1940-80)

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No. 46 (Black, Ochre, Red Over Red), 1957 Oil On Canvas 99 1/4 X 81 3/4 In. © The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles The Panza Collection
Tall Figure III (left) and Tall Figure II, 1960 Bronze 93 X 10 3/4 X 20 1/2 In., And 109 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 21 3/4 In. © The Rita and Taft Schreiber Collection, Given in loving memory for her husband, Taft Schreiber, by Rita Schreiber photo by Brian Forrest
Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years (1940-80)
Curated by: Paul Schimmel

250 S. Grand Ave.
90012 Los Angeles
November 15th, 2009 - May 3rd, 2010

downtown/east la
Mon,Fri 11-5; Thu 11-8; Sat-Sun 11-6
works-on-paper, video, photography, installation, sculpture


Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years
Opens November 15, 2009

MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Los Angeles, CA—The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), announced today it will present the largest installation of its renowned permanent collection, featuring 500 of its  best works at both of its downtown Los Angeles locations: MOCA Grand Avenue and The  Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years will open November 15, 2009, following a Gala weekend attracting an international audience in celebration of the museum’s 30th anniversary.

MOCA’s collection, which numbers nearly 6,000 works dating from 1939 to the present day, is  internationally regarded as one of the most important collections of postwar art in the world.  While works from the collection have been seen in more than 100 thematic exhibitions at  MOCA since the museum’s founding in 1979, Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years will make a significant portion of the collection accessible to the public in a long-term installation.

“MOCA is approaching this exhibition of works from its collection with the same level of  ambition and depth that has characterized the museum’s most celebrated thematic exhibitions,” said organizing curator and MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel. “MOCA is assembling its major holdings into an unprecedented installation that will occupy 50,000 square feet in two museum buildings. The scope and scale of Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years will enable the community to build relationships with individual works of art and develop a sense of long-term engagement with the collection and the museum.”

Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years will feature works in various media, including painting, sculpture,photography, works on paper, video, and installation-based art. The chronological layout will provide a comprehensive history of 70 years of contemporary art, touching on every significant movement and development during the period. Geographical as well as ideological overlaps and distinctions will be highlighted, and a mix of well-established and lesser-known artists will be featured. The exhibition will encompass the galleries at MOCA Grand Avenue, where works dating from 1939 through 1959 will occupy 10,000 square feet of exhibition space in the south galleries, and works dating from 1960 through 1979 will occupy 14,000 square feet of exhibition space in the north galleries. The installation will occupy an additional 26,000 square feet of exhibition space at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA with works dating from 1980 to the present.

Highlights of the exhibition include: seminal works of abstract expressionism and pop art, such as Jackson Pollock’s large-scale drip painting Number 1, 1949 (1949), Willem de Kooning’s Two Women with Still Life (1952), Antoni Tàpies’s Grey and Black Cross. No. XXVI (1955), Alberto Giacometti’s Tall Figure II and Tall Figure III (both 1960), and Roy Lichtenstein’s Man with Folded Arms (1962); monographic groupings of individual artists drawn from MOCA’s in-depth holdings of works by Franz Kline, Claes Oldenberg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Mark Rothko; significant representations of works by minimalists Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, and Brice Marden; influential post-minimalist and neo-expressionist works, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Six Crimee (1982) and Anselm Kiefer’s Departure from Egypt (1984); conceptual works by On Kawara and Felix Gonzalez-Torres; entire suites of documentary photographs by Diane Arbus, Larry Clark, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, and Helen Leavitt; selections from MOCA’s extensive holdings of work by California artists Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Laura Owens, Raymond Pettibon, Charles Ray, and Jason Rhoades; as well as presentations of several installation-based works, such as Doug Wheeler’s RM 669, (1969), Bruce Nauman’s Four Corner Piece (1971), Edward Ruscha’s Chocolate Room (1970–2004), Renée Green’s Import/Export Funk Office (1992–93), Douglas Gordon’s Between Darkness and Light (After William Blake) (1997), Pipilotti Rist’s I Couldn’t Agree with You More (1999), and Tabaimo’s public conVENience (2006).

Encouraging a further level of personal engagement with the works of art in MOCA’s permanent collection, Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years will be augmented by a special mini-site on that features dynamic educational and scholarly content about works in the exhibition and contemporary art during the last 70 years. This Is Not To Be Looked At: Highlights from the Permanent Collection of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles is MOCA’s first overview catalogue of its permanent collection. This fully illustrated 380-page hardcover publication features 150 artists with works in MOCA’s holdings. Distributed by DAP, the catalogue is available for $59.95 at all MOCA Store locations and at

To request images of works from Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years, contact Jessica Youn at or 213/633-5322.

Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years is presented by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The exhibition is made possible by generous support from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation; Anonymous; Maria and Bill Bell; Nicolas Berggruen; Gagosian Gallery; The Suzanne M. Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation; The Steven F. Roth Family Foundation; Catharine and Jeffrey Soros; Ovation TV, the Official Network Partner of MOCA; Yannick Mathieu and Kimberly Chang; and The MOCA Contemporaries. In-kind media support is provided by Los Angeles magazine and 89.9 KCRW FM.

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