The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco today announced the acquisition of 42 works of art by contemporary Bay Area artists. Funded with the generous support of the Svane Family Foundation, the new acquisition encapsulates the breadth of the SF arts community, illuminating the central concerns at the forefront of artistic practice in the region over the past decade, from climate change to COVID-19. The Svane initiative, helmed by Claudia Schmuckli, Curator in Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming, brings the works of 30 emerging and mid-career artists and collectives into the Fine Arts Museums’ permanent collection, reflecting the Museums’ commitment to inclusivity and the city’s vibrant arts ecology.
“The Bay Area is home to an extraordinary cultural ecosystem, flush with talent and vision,” remarked Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “As a proud member of this vibrant and diverse community, we are grateful to the Svane Family Foundation for its crucial support of local artists, of our fellow arts organizations, and of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Foundation’s generous gift to the Fine Arts Museums ensures that we are able to represent the remarkable breadth and depth of the creative community working in the Bay Area today.”
Slated for exhibition in 2023, the works will bring Bay Area artists’ creative scope and most pressing concerns to audiences at the Fine Arts Museums: among them, aesthetic strategies of survival in the face of racial injustice and endemic police violence; climate change and environmental degradation; intersectionality and the fluidity of gender; the constructed nature and legacy of US history; and the spiritual invocation of legacies and social knowledge, past, present, and future. Contributing artists are Stephanie Syjuco; Allison Smith; Chris Johanson; Clare Rojas; Katy Grannan; Chelsea Wong; Koak; Ruby Neri; Maria A. Guzman Capron; Daisy May Sheff; Christiane Lyons; Wesaam Al-Badry; Guillermo Galindo; Sahar Khoury; Muzae Sesay; Woody De Othello; David Huffman; Postcommodity; Miguel Arzabe; Saif Azzuz; Rupy C. Tut; Sydney Cain; Rashaad Newsome; Ramekon O’Arwisters; Angela Hennessy; Ana Teresa Fernández; Liz Hernández; Demetri Broxton; Kota Ezawa; and Sadie Barnette.
“The Svane gift is a snapshot of the artistic energy that abounds in the Bay Area,” noted Schmuckli. “Over time, the acquisition developed organically into thematic sections that reflect the issues artists here are grappling with at this very moment, including San Francisco’s own legacy of radical social consciousness and the threat that widespread gentrification poses to such independent thought. When considering artists’ work, I prioritized excellence in vision and craft and our long-standing commitment to equity, inclusivity, and diversity in our collections and exhibitions.”
Established in 2019 by Zendesk Founder and CEO Mikkel Svane, the Svane Family Foundation earmarked $1 million in 2021 to support the Fine Arts Museums’ acquisition. Working with 13 galleries across San Francisco and five out-of-state, and directly with three artists without gallery representation, Schmuckli identified the 42 artworks that advance the Museums’ long-standing commitments to community and to bolstering the success of emerging and underrepresented artists. Of the 30 artists whose work is slated to enter the permanent collection, more than half are women and the majority are people of color. Their work will be shown together in the exhibition opening in 2023 in the de Young museum’s galleries of modern and contemporary art.