- Museum of Modern Art in New York announced the donation of a major transformative gift
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The Museum of Modern Art in New York announced the donation of a major transformative gift of 45 works of African contemporary art from the prolific art collector, photographer, and investor Jean Pigozzi. The gift which spans a varied selection of work by African artists including sculptures by Romuald Hazoumè (Beninese, born 1962) and Bodys Isek Kingelez (Congolese, 1948–2015); paintings by Moké (Congolese, 1950–2001) and Chéri Samba (Congolese, born 1956); photographs by artists such as Seydou Keïta (Malian, 1923–2001), Ambroise Ngaimoko/Studio 3Z (Congolese, born Angola. 1949), and Jean Depara (Congolese, born Angola. 1928–1997); drawings by the mystic Gedewon (Ethiopian, 1939–1995) and Abu Bakarr Mansaray (Sierra Leonian, born 1970); and one of the landmark works of the 20th century: Alphabet bété (1991), a pictographic alphabet of 449 (drawings) syllables by Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (Ivorian, 1923–2014) that the artist hoped would be a new tool for universal communication. This gift makes MoMA a unique institutional leader in this aspect of contemporary African art.
Who is Jean Pigozzi? In addition to being a fixture on the NY society scene hanging out with the likes of Andy Warhol, Faye Dunaway, Grace Jones, Lady Gaga, Catherine Deneuve, Daphne Guinness, to name a few, Pigozzi is heir to the Simca automobile company and estimated to be worth more than $100 million.
Back in 2017, there was report that Pigozzi was looking for a place to house his African art collection, part of his over 10,000 sculptures, drawings, photographs, installations, and videos, and was to house it in a foundation called CAAC Art. Pigozzi himself had pointed out that “neither the Centre Pompidou in Paris, nor the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the MoMA in New York have contemporary African art departments.” So this might have been the conversation that led to the transformative gift.
The Art works will go on display when MoMA reopens in October of this year.
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