33 pieces gifted to MOCA

Times Staff Writer

In a pledge that reinforces a philanthropic tradition, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has received the promise of a gift of 33 pieces from Clifford Einstein, chair of MOCA’s board of trustees, and his wife, Madeline. The donation comprises works made over the last three decades by an international slate of prominent artists, including Kiki Smith, Nam June Paik, Mark Grotjahn, Sigmar Polke, Mike Kelley and Lari Pittman.

“MOCA’s collection has been defined to a great degree by gifts of significant collections,” said Jeremy Strick, the museum’s director. “This is one further example, a group of works that complements what we have, reflects the exhibition history of the museum and adds new strength.”

A highlight of the donation, Strick said, is Smith’s “Train,” an installation featuring a wax statue of a nude woman trailed by a stream of beads. The group of works also encompasses “Administrative Landscape,” a steel sculpture by Tony Cragg; “Silver Shoes,” a mixed-media installation by Yayoi Kusama; “Standing Figure,” a resin, sand and steel sculpture by Magdalena Abakanowicz; and a butterfly-like abstraction in colored pencil by Grotjahn.


“We are looking forward to displaying individual works from the gift within the context of our permanent collection,” Strick said.

The Einsteins, longtime collectors and MOCA supporters, have donated many individual works to the museum over the years, including pieces by photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, conceptualist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, painter Elizabeth Peyton and assemblagists Edward and Nancy Kienholz.

Their promised gift will join major collections previously donated by other patrons, including Blake Byrne, Rita and Taft Schreiber, Barry Lowen, Marcia Simon Weisman and Beatrice and Philip Gersh.

“The collections that have been gifted to MOCA over the years have set a terrific standard for any museum,” Cliff Einstein said in a statement released by the museum. “Mandy and I are very proud to follow in these footsteps.”