Charity Spotlight: The Couple Collective

by Editorial

Heather and Tony Podesta add a colorful touch to philanthropy by lending and donating art to area museums

Heather and Tony Podesta (Photo by Tony Powell)

High-powered lobbyists, each with their own govern- ment relations firms, Heather and Tony Podesta are well known inWashington’s power circles.Their knowledge of the ins and outs of politics may only be matched by their knowledge and love of the arts.

Over the years, the couple has amassed some 2,000 artworks, many of which have been lent or donated to area museums.Their latest gift of thought-provoking photographs from such emerging artists as Frank Theil and Jane and Louise Wilson are slated for the Phillips Collection to coincide with the museum’s 90th anniversary.

Small and focused,“Left Behind: Selected Gifts from the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection,” curated by the museum’s Vesela Stretenovic, features pictures of unpopu- lated spaces that imply a sense of transience. Haunting and disquieting, the works are a departure from the Podestas’ usual aesthetic, which tends toward depictions of the human body.They round out the Phillips’ expanding anthology of modernist photo- graphs, rooted with 25 total works from the Podestas.

PODESTA PICKS: The couple’s favorites from “Left Behind”

“Jane and Louise Wilson have the ability to find meaning in empty places. Their photos capture bedlam without the people.”

Jane & Louise Wilson (British, b. 1967). Omnimax Cinema, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas Graveyard Time 1999. C-print mounted on aluminum (with plexi box); ed. 1/4 70 7/8 x 70 7/8 inches. Gift of the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, 2010.

“We love cities and Berlin has been rebuilt with a stunning transition. Frank is one of our favorite artists.”

Frank Thiel (German, b. 1966) Stadt 4103 (Berlin), 1996. C-print face mounted to Plexiglas. Acquired 2009, © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

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