Major New Acquisition Funded by Svane Family Foundation Fosters Bay Area Arts Community

Jul 11, 2022

collage of human male body parts and a non-human face

Rashaad Newsome. Thirst Trap, 2020. Collage on paper in custom mahogany and resin artist frame with automotive paint, 45 1/4 x 43 11/16 x 4 1/2 in. (114.935 x 110.966 x 11.43 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, a gift from the Svane Family Foundation, 2022.26.24a-b. Courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman, San Francisco. Photograph by Randy Dodson

42 works by 30 artists provide snapshot of most pressing contemporary concerns

SAN FRANCISCO – 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.  

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco oversee the de Young museum, located in Golden Gate Park, and the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park. It is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco, and one of the most visited arts institutions in the United States.

The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park and was established as the Memorial Museum in 1895. It was later renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, who spearheaded its creation. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in October 2005. Reflecting an active conversation among cultures, perspectives, and time periods, the collections on view include American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco respectfully acknowledge the Ramaytush Ohlone, the original inhabitants of what is now the San Francisco Peninsula, and acknowledge that the greater Bay Area is the ancestral territory of the Miwok, Yokuts, Patwin, and other Ohlone. Indigenous communities have lived in and moved through this place over hundreds of generations, and Indigenous peoples from many nations make their home in this region today. Please join us in recognizing and honoring their ancestors, descendants, elders, and their communities.

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