The National Gallery of Art has purchased its first work by Rineke Dijkstra, part of a batch of new acquisitions including examples by Richard Artschwager, Allan McCollum, Hans Haacke and Ed Ruscha, all funded by the museum’s collectors committee. The museum is better known for historical examples, though it already has among its contemporary holdings artists including Polke, Richter, Scott Burton and Lee Bontecou, also all gifts from the collectors committee.
The Dijkstra video, I See a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman), 2009, shows, on its three adjacent screens, nine British schoolchildren attired in Catholic school uniforms. They discuss Picasso’s Weeping Woman (1937), from the Tate Modern collection, though the painting is never shown or identified. They offer endearing speculations on the reasons for the woman’s tears: “Maybe her stepmum was like . . . evil”; “Maybe that’s a million-pound bill and she can’t pay it.”
Piano/Piano (1963-1965/2011), a 3-by-6½-by-4-foot sculpture by Richard Artschwager, is one of the Formica-laminated wooden sculptures for which the artist is principally known. His retrospective, “Richard Artschwager!”, was recently on view at the Whitney Museum in New York and will travel to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Munich’s Haus der Kunst. The artist died in February. A play on the Minimalist box, the sculpture was planned in several drawings and a collage from 1963 to 1965, but executed only recently, under Artschwager’s supervision, for a 2012 exhibition at the Rome outpost of Gagosian Gallery.
McCollum’s Plaster Surrogates (1982/1989) is the last large grouping available of the artist’s signature works in this series, according to the museum. It consists of plaster sculptures of frames holding blank images and hung salon style, and was featured prominently in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1999 “Museum as Muse” exhibition.
Haacke’s Condensation Wall (1963-1966/2013), from the artist’s early career, is a transparent box in which, depending on the ambient temperature of the gallery, water inside collects and “rains.”
Stains, a 1969 work by Ruscha, consists of 75 sheets of paper, each marked with a stain created by various substances, including bacon grease, egg yolk, parsley and, ironically, in one case, spot remover.
PHOTO: Rineke Dijkstra: I See a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman), 2009, 3-channel HD video installation with sound, 12 minutes, looped. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., purchased with funds donated by Joseph M. Cohen and Gift of the Collectors Committee. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris.