PAFA goes shopping

From Robert Cozzolino

[We’ve been hearing that PAFA’s Robert Cozzolino and Alex Baker have been all around town looking at art and thinking about purchases. So I asked Cozzolino what they were up to. Here’s his answer, which includes some local names, some not so local names and some stuff we’ve already reported:]

munizcharleswillsonpeale…As for purchases — all I can tell you is that we have been buying some very exciting things at PAFA lately; and we’ve received some super-delightful gifts. We really hope the latter keeps happening because money runs out, and quickly (image, Vik Muniz’ “Charles Willson Peale”).


We recently bought three drawings by Huston Ripley, a major Alice Neel painting of Clement Greenberg’s daughter, and received gifts of work by Vik Muniz (the Peale), Edwin Dickinson (a 1950s chair painting that was in the big show), an early Thomas Chimes, and Sylvia Fein (two major works by her — one of which you’ll hear about on Wednesday if you come). There are others but they escape me at the moment. [The Wednesday reference is to Cozzolino’s talk Dec. 7].

There’s another major purchase that will have to await a press release. I can’t scoop our PR guy. It’s good.

So — it’s not exactly a spree but it has changed things in the collection. We’ve talked about doing some sort of new acquisitions exhibition to assess how we three curators have managed to change things in the last two years through strategic acquisitions — but there’s no official word on when or in what way we’d do an exhibition of this sort.


One way that would make a cohesive exhibition in this area would be to show what’s been accomplished with Alex’s Contemporary Art Development Fund [Baker is PAFA’s curator of contemporary art]. I have been adding drawings with it (Rob Matthews–see Roberta’s post here, Huston) and plan to keep doing so; but he’s bought some stellar paintings (Jim Houser, Jane Irish, Monique van Genderen) and a Virgil Marti installation with its largess.

Over the past year Alex, myself and our senior curator, Lynn Marsden-Atlass have been engaged in intensive discussions with other members of the PAFA community about prioritizing which gaps we can and need to fill first in our collection. Part of this had to do with strategizing how best to use and stretch our limited acquisition funds. We have been able to purchase some strong important work in this way (a Jim Nutt painting from 1969 that will be up in February is one of my favorites), including the Neel mentioned above, a Jess painting and an Adolph Gottlieb pictograph too. I’d throw things you already know about in there like the Kara Walker that was in Light Line and Color
and a couple of John Wilde drawings from the 1940s. Before I arrived I know Derek bought two Leon Golub paintings — one early and one later and Lynn selected the Elizabeth Murray painting that is currently in the MoMA retrospective; at least I think it is — my head is spinning. It’s hard to get a handle on what we’ve managed to do in the last year and so it would be good to take stock in some public way. It may be a matter of highlighting a “new acquisition” on our website every month like other museums do. But I’d rather put them on view.

Hopefully in the next six months we’ll have further exciting things to


Yes we were at the Spector opening but I can’t say anything more than
it was a great and thrilling show.

–Post by PAFA Associate Curator Robert Cozzolino