Portrait of Agnes Gund, 2013. Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Leo Castelli, Agnes Gund, and Rauschenberg on the occasion of Castelli’s gift of Rauschenberg’s Bed (1955) to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 1989



Agnes Gund

Agnes Gund is president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and chair of its International Council. She joined the museum’s board in 1976 and served as its president from 1991 to 2002. She is also chair of MoMA PS1, New York. In 1997, Gund received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. She is known as a civic leader and staunch supporter of education, women’s issues, and environmental concerns, among other causes. In 1977, Gund became the founder and board chair of Studio in a School, a nonprofit organization established in response to budget cuts that virtually eliminated arts classes from New York City public schools.

As a philanthropist and collector of modern and contemporary art, Gund currently serves on the board of directors for Chess in the Schools, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art; Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York; Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, Washington, D.C.; and the Morgan Library and Museum, New York, among others. She is cofounder and chair of the Center for Curatorial Leadership, New York and an honorary trustee of Independent Curators International, New York as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. Gund served on the board of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation from 2009 to 2013, having been elected by Rauschenberg. 

Excerpt from Interview with Agnes Gund by Sara Sinclair, 2015

I think Bed [1955] is sort of the essence of Bob because it was done before he started the other Combines [1954–64] and it was done with the élan he had about doing his work, which was just slapping it to say—using that word—together. Making it what was there and really the Duchampian background that he and Jasper [Johns] had together because they were very close in those early years. . . . I think Bob’s work has only become, since his death, a little bit more recognized for not only its variety, but also its fineness—its really break-through-it-ness or whatever you call it. The Bed really epitomizes that because nobody had really done it in the same way, just attached something else to a painting and called it a painting. Really in the end it’s a sculpture, I think. But I think that’s what makes it all the more enticing because it is sculpture-like—