The Museum of Modern Art will display two works selected by artist David Hammons—the recently acquired Black Pope (Sandwich Board Man) (1973) and a brush and ink drapery study by Leonardo da Vinci—in Charles White—Leonardo da Vinci. Curated by David Hammons, on view from October 7, 2017, through January 1, 2018, in the Museum’s fifth-floor Painting and Sculpture galleries. Displaying these two works together highlights the connections between their composition and draftsmanship, while also celebrating two artists who have had a lasting influence on subsequent generations (Hammons studied with White in Los Angeles in the late 1960s). Charles White—Leonardo da Vinci marks the first time that The Museum of Modern Art will display Black Pope since its acquisition in 2013, and the first time that a work by Leonardo will be on view at the Museum. It is also the first time that this Leonardo drawing—a drapery study for the angel in The Virgin of the Rocks (c. 1491/2–9 and 1506–8) generously lent to the Museum by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from the British Royal Collection—will be on view in the US. The exhibition is organized by Esther Adler, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints.
White and Leonardo also shared a more personal connection: both artists were born in the first half of April, although over four centuries apart. Working with Chakrapani Ullal, a practitioner of Vedic astrology, Hammons commissioned readings of both artists’ natal charts, which will also be on view in the exhibition and discussed by Ullal on the accompanying audio guide. By presenting both artists’ destinies as written in the stars at the time of their birth, Hammons shifts our attention from the gallery to the world beyond it, and to the potential for additional commonalities between the two men.
October 07, 2017–January 01, 2018
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