Collected by Thea Westreich
Wagner and Ethan Wagner
Whitney Museum

New York
20 November – 6 March, 2016

The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Centre Pompidou Foundation, celebrate an extraordinary gift of more than eight hundred and fifty works given by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, presenting consecutive exhibitions featuring a selection of works from this amazing gift.
The Whitney’s presentation of Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner is located in the Museum’s new downtown home and is followed by The Pompidou’s exhibition opening in June in Paris.

The exhibition celebrates this remarkable gift and explores several of the ideas and themes that recur in the collection across generations, mediums, and nationalities: the rise of mass media and the darker side of advertising; the adoption of street style and the punk aesthetic; the decorative arts and their ability to communicate often political messages; reflections on how technology has radically altered commerce, communication, and industry; and the artist as celebrity, among others.

Thea and Ethan began collecting art in the 1980s and continue to collect today. They have consistently focused their attention on emerging artists. Many of them were relatively unknown at the time, but have since become some of the most important figures of their generation – notably Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Christopher Wool. The couple has also pursued a specific interest in photography, building deep holdings of the work of great figures such as Lee Friedlander and Robert Adams, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Annette Kelm, and Josephine Pryde.
They are continuously motivated by the learning challenges posed by new expressions and new ideas, the two have examined the world around them through the eyes of the artists whose work they follow and acquire; their collection is a unique, personal reflection on the “contemporary moment” as it has evolved over the last decades.

“WE ARE THRILLED THAT AUDIENCES WILL BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THESE EXHIBITIONS AT THE WHITNEY AND THE POMPIDOU.
THESE ARE WORKS BY ARTISTS WHOM WE DEEPLY ADMIRE AND WANT TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD.” – MS. WESTREICH WAGNER AND MR. WAGNER