The Museum of Modern Art presents Pollen from Hazelnut, a pollen field by the artist Wolfgang Laib, in The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium from January 23 to March 11, 2013. The work is the artist’s largest pollen-based installation to date, measuring approximately 18 by 21 feet. This presentation is organized by Lilian Tone, Assistant Curator, and Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture.
Wolfgang Laib (German, b. 1950) created his first pollen field in 1977, and has since collected pollen on a yearly basis, spring through summer, in the forests and meadows near his home in a small village in southern Germany. In a solitary, ceremonial endeavor, Laib manually harvests pollen from one plant at a time. This physically demanding activity involves devotion and discipline, and notions of time, labor, ritual, and the process of art making are rethought. To present his works, Laib sieves pollen directly onto the floor, creating a ground of radiant color that is at once material and immaterial. Once the exhibition ends, the artist retrieves the pollen, cleans it, and stores it in sealed glass jars. The work at MoMA is the equivalent of approximately 18 such jars. Laib has been collecting the hazelnut pollen used in MoMA’s installation from the natural environment around his home and studio since the mid-1990s. Pollen, a primordial substance as potent as it is fragile, is recontextualized here as a vibrant celebration of life.
The presentation is made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America.
Additional support is provided by Agnes Gund and by The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.