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UBS Redefines Art Collection, With Accent on Photography

UBS (Union des banques Suisses), one of the world’s leading financial firms, has appointed a curator and advisory board to chart the future direction of the UBS Art Collection. Highlights of the collection are currently on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Manhattan (through April 25), to be followed by an international tour.

GENEVA—UBS (Union des banques Suisses), one of the world’s leading financial firms, has appointed a curator and advisory board to chart the future direction of the UBS Art Collection. Highlights of the collection are currently on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Manhattan (through April 25), to be followed by an international tour.

Matthias Winzen, director of the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany, and a professor at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and the Kunsthochschule Kassel, assumes overall curatorial responsibilities for the collection of some 900 paintings, photographs, drawings and sculpture. He describes the collection as “more innovative, compared with other corporate collections with nonconventional works—photography, in particular.”

The UBS collection includes abstract paintings by artists such as Willem de Kooning and Brice Marden; figurative paintings by Philip Guston and Chuck Close; minimalist sculpture by Dan Flavin and Donald Judd; photographs by Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth; and works on paper by Jenny Holzer and Cy Twombly.

Members of the advisory board are Yoshiko Mori, Japan, who, with her husband, Moinoru, founded the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Jean-Christophe Ammann, Switzerland; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Venezuela; and Donald B. Marron, U.S. Marron, former chairman and CEO of PaineWebber, guided the development of a major portion of the collection, which passed into the hands of UBS when it purchased the American financial institution in 2000 (see ANL, 3/16/04).

Petra Arends, collection executive of the UBS Art Collection, who is responsible for its management and maintenance, says she anticipates that some significant acquisitions will be made in the near future. “We are currently in the process of defining our focus and expect to strengthen the presence of core artists, build on our existing strong photography collection and add paintings by young artists,” she explains.

Photography appears to be a top priority, with important purchases imminent, according to Arends. As a matter of policy, she notes, UBS discusses neither its annual acquisitions nor the price range of potential acquisitions.

In addition to making its collection available through loans to museums and public galleries, UBS recently launched a Web museum at www.ubs.com/artcollection. The Web site provides permanent online access to works, as well as information on the artists and background commentary.

Beginning this month, the Web site features online exhibitions, allowing the curator of the UBS Art Collection or a guest curator to shed new light on selected works from the collection. The first exhibition is a Web version of “Contemporary Voices: Works from The UBS Art Collection,” currently at MoMA.

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