The Museum of Modern Art in New York has acquired two paintings by Belgian artist Luc Tuymans focusing on American conservatism under the Bush administration. According to Tuymans, The Secretary of State (2005), above, depicts US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as an enigmatic figure whose personal life is kept private and whose success as a negotiator remains to be seen. Tuymans says his initial inspiration for the image came during Rice’s 2005 trip to Belgium when the nation’s foreign affairs minister described her as a “strong, not unpretty woman”. The work is a fractional gift from David and Monica Zwirner, who will donate the remainder of the gift at a later date; MoMA has full access to the painting in the interim. The couple have also donated Tuymans’ Demolition, 2005, which shows a billowing cloud of smoke, evoking the collapse of the World Trade Center. The Tuymans paintings are part of group of 35 works recently acquired by the museum, including art by Jasper Johns, Gerhard Richter, Elizabeth Murray and Roni Horn; all the works were made in the past five years.
In our May issue, we incorrectly identified Luc Tuymans’ Demolition, 2005, as a gift of David and Monica Zwirner to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The painting is a fractional and promised gift from Leonard and Susan Feinstein. David and Monica Zwirner have given MoMA Luc Tuymans’ The Secretary of State, 2005, a painting of Condoleezza Rice, as a fractional gift. They will donate the remainder of the gift at a later date.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Condi goes to MoMA'