New Institute of Up to date Artwork San Francisco to open in Dogpatch subsequent summer season

The new Institute of Contemporary Art under construction will be shown in San Francisco. The museum in the Dogpatch neighborhood will join the Minnesota Street Project a few blocks away. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle

A stroll down 901 Minnesota St., rubber mats and a few foam balls on the floor point to the building’s recent life as a fitness center and former biotech office. On a leafy street in the Dogpatch neighborhood, the space’s industrial architecture is a clue of an area home to metal stores and expensive condominiums. With its high ceilings and an area of ​​11,000 square meters, the building’s bones also seem perfect for displaying art.

“It really just needs a slight polish and a certain ADA security conformity,” says Alison Gass, director of the newly founded Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, which plans to move into the building in 2022 after renovation by Jensen Architects. “We really want to keep it open, expansive and flexible for artists who don’t necessarily work in Germany.”

The news of the establishment of the museum was announced on Wednesday, September 8th. It comes at a time when many established visual arts institutions are grappling with the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic and are re-evaluating their missions and values ​​in the wake of calls for more social justice. And in a city known for startups, this museum has attracted the support of some big players in the tech and venture capital world – the kind of patron that many arts organizations have sought.

The ICA San Francisco is sponsored by the Minnesota Street Project Foundation. Deborah and Andy Rappaport, the founders of the five-year-old arts center of the Minnesota Street Project nearby, have also raised $ 1 million in seed money through their Rappaport Family Foundation.

The institution plans to be a non-collecting art museum, which Gass and the Rappaports believe it will give it more flexibility. By not focusing on acquisitions, ICA San Francisco can devote more resources to exhibiting new local and international artists, as well as programs that can be created quickly in response to current events. ICA San Francisco also seeks to be a fairer organization, paying salaries commensurate with the high cost of living in the Bay Area and attracting a broader economic base of applicants. The museum plans to open in the summer of 2022 and not charge entry.

“In talking to Andy and Deborah, it really became clear that we believed there was room for this in the ecosystem,” says Gass, most recently director of the independent Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose. “The more institutions from the world community and the local community can have truly critical importance and respect, the better Bay Area artists can be encouraged to stay and work here.”

Alison Gass, Executive Director of the new Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, in the premises of the museum, which is currently under construction. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle

“In the venture capital world, there is a truism that the best companies start at the worst times,” says Andy Rappaport, partner at August Capital. “We were prepared to say after COVID: How can we capitalize on the fact that there is now a fertile environment for this kind of creative thinking and frankly a lot of energy for positivity and advancement?”

What convinced the Rappaports to support the project?

“Ali was the right person at the right time,” said Deborah Rappaport.

The museum’s other founding donors: startup investors and collectors Wayee Chu and Ethan Beard; Rsquared Communication founder Rebecca Henderson and Slack Technologies co-founder Cal Henderson; Collector and philanthropist Pamela Hornik and Lobby Capital founding partner David Hornik; Art philanthropist Susan Swig; Kaitlyn Krieger, president of the Future Justice Fund, and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger; and Dr. Martha Muña and the founder of Kindred Ventures, Kanyi Maqubela. To date, the museum has raised $ 2.5 million; it projects an annual budget of $ 2.5-3 million per year.

“We love entering the investment world on the ground floor,” says Mike Krieger. “(ICA San Francisco) is just getting started, preparing to expand their space and do their first programming. Ali is exactly the kind of leader we love to support. She is super creative and dynamic, she knows how to adapt. “

The Kriegers have pledged to finance the director’s salary for three years. Kaitlyn Krieger notes that this is the first time the couple have put their name in a position they have funded.

Husband and wife Andy and Deborah Rappaport, shown in 2015 in the warehouse they converted into the Minnesota Street Project. Photo: Michael Macor / Die Chronik

Gass’s résumé includes curatorial positions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, and as director of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. In June 2020 she became director of ICA San Jose. After years of working in more traditional institutions, Gass says she was drawn to the similar mission at ICA San Jose.

“It became this real affirmation that non-collecting contemporary museums have the ability to turn left and make a switch much easier than larger collecting institutions,” she said.

At ICA San Jose, Gass helped set up the ICA Social Club, a membership group aimed at art collectors at various levels. She also initiated the museum’s facade installation program, which shows a mural by Amir H. Fallah in autumn 2020 and will present another project this autumn with an accompanying exhibition by Conrad Egyir. ICA San Jose also hosted Jamaican artist Ebony Patterson’s first solo show on the west coast in 2020.

Pamela and David Hornik became art distributors and donors for ICA San Jose after they met Gass at Cantor. Pamela Hornik says Gass’ ability to get audiences excited about art was one reason she supported her work. They have so far donated $ 250,000 to ICA San Francisco and plan to continue helping.

“It’s an opportunity to bet on the future of the art world and identify emerging stars,” said David Hornik. “It’s an opportunity to get involved with these artists in ways that are often challenging for established institutions.”

Gass said she watched other institutions struggle after the upheavals of the pandemic and social justice last year. ICA San Francisco, she said, has the opportunity to make equity and inclusion its founding principles.

The new “emergency logo” by the artist Christopher Martin for the ICA San Francisco, the museum’s first commission.

“San Francisco and the bay in general are anticipating a cultural turning point about who lives here and why,” says ICA financier Maqubela. “Art is the perfect timing to convey moments like these and to influence them. In a way, this is a perfect time for a new cultural institution to get involved. “

Although the museum is slated to open in the summer of 2022, it plans its first events in the space under construction in January during San Francisco Art Week and Fog Design + Art Fair, which is scheduled for January 20-23. Oakland artist Christopher Martin will create a work in the space during art week that he believes will be part fabric and banner installations, part gift shop with affordable items like clothing showing his work.

With the creative agency Four One Nine, Martin also created the image that ICA San Francisco had commissioned to replace a traditional logo. It shows one of Martin’s characteristic Cupids in the style of sailor tattoo illustrations reaching into his quiver: arrows are shot at the letters ICA on individual banners.

“Now, more than ever, the moment has come to prioritize art as a lens for the larger social, political and cultural issues,” said Gass. “I think museums will more than ever be less formal discussions about our historical way of artistic progress and much more: ‘Let us learn with and through contemporary art practice how we can be better citizens of the world.’ ”

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