Re-View: Onnasch Collection at Hauser & Wirth

photography Arturo Stanig

coordination Claudia Vitarelli

3 March 2014

Gallery Hauser & Wirth presents an exhibition on the collection of art dealer Reinhard Onnasch, focusing on the years between 1950 and 1970. Curated by post-war scholar—and Hauser & Wirth's newly appointed partner—Paul Schimmel, the exhibition is presented in chronological order through a succession of ten rooms.

We spoke with Marc Payot, partner and vice-president of Hauser & Wirth, about the intent behind presenting this exhibition.

Hauser & Wirth is presenting this exhibition with a museological approach. What was the thought process behind this choice of show? 

It is based on a long-term relationship between the Reinhard Onnasch and Hauser & Wirth. From these conversations came the idea to present this collection, first in our London gallery last fall and now here in New York. For Onnasch, it’s a possibility to make his colleciton accessible to a greater audience. 

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Above: George Brecht, Table with Rainbow Leg, Clothes Tree, Little Anarchist Dictionary Chair Event, 1960-1963.

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Above: hanging on the wall on the left is Clyfford Still, 1953-No.2 (PH-847), 1953. On the right, at the end of the corridor, is Claes Oldenburg, Model for a Mahogany Plug, Scale B, 1969.

What are the implications of exhibiting a collection in a gallery for the artworks in the show?

I think the decision lies more in when the artists decide to show with a gallery—they give the responsibility over to the gallery when the works are sold. The artwork is sold into a certain context, either the hands of an institution or a collector. Of course we invited all of the living artists represented in this show, but it is no longer their responsibility. Each case is different, but what we try to do is respect the intention of each artist as much as possible.

How has the exhibition been perceived in London versus New York?

There has been a wider interest in the show in New York so far, mostly because many of the artists involved are American. In the end that’s what matters most, the artists. 

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Above: Kenneth Noland, Wotan, 1961.

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Above: David Smith, Seven Hours, 1961.

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Above: George Segal, The Farm Worker, 1963.

The show focuses on artworks collected by Onnasch from the period between 1950 and 1970, when the distance between Europe and the U.S. was more prominent. Has the sensibility in collecting art shifted from that time to nowadays?

In the 70s, the world was still so separate, because mobility was limited. Today the world is perceived much more as one, especially in the art word. The interested public is constantly between Europe and the U.S.—maybe not necessarily worldwide, but certainly New York and European capitals. Today the big difference is also how quickly we communicate. I’m sure that some of what happened just now is already on the net, and on Instagram, and in China, so there is a major difference in how knowledge and information flows.  

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Above: Jim Dine, The Hammer Acts, 1962.

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Above: installation view of works from Edward Kienholz and Hannah Darboven's Kurt Schwitters, 1987.

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Above: Clyfford Still, PH-131, 1951.

Do you think the mission or approach to collecting art has changed?

I think the mission has always been passion. It’s the interest and love for contemporary art that has not changed. It is that nerve to collecting that is important for any big collector, it’s that passion.

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Re-View: Onnasch Collection will be on view through April 12, 2014.

Hauser & Wirth is located at 511 West 18th Street, New York. 

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