Gap founder's amazing art collection may leave San Francisco

 Lg 331

This week, I had reason to visit the San Francisco headquarters of The Gap. The company's founder, Donald Fisher, is a huge art lover and has a jaw-dropping collection of contemporary art. I really respect that he and his wife spend so much of their wealth on art, and want to share it with the public. The company lobby itself is like a Lichtenstein gallery. For example, the fantastic portrait of Swee'Pea seen above, titled "Reflections on the Scream," is hanging right in the entryway. And there are a slew of great pieces by Warhol, Calder, Oldenburg, and other modern Western artists throughout the building. For the last two years, the Fisher family had been aiming to build a public museum for their full collection in San Francisco's historic Presidio, a former military facility that's now a national park. Apparently though, historic preservationists and conservationists were upset with the Fishers' plans. Now it's not clear where their collection will go, and it may very well leave the city. From the Los Angeles Times:

"It would be an absolute crime if it left San Francisco," said Dede Wilsey, president of the board that oversees the De Young and Legion of Honor, two of the city's major art museums. "No one could amass that collection now. They couldn't afford it, even in a recession."

The collection, housed in a warehouse and at Gap headquarters in San Francisco, is open to scholars, and Fisher routinely loans pieces to museums. But until an agreement is reached, most of it will stay behind closed doors.

"You could very easily teach the history of art over the past 50 years with this collection," said Hilarie Faberman, a curator at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. Faberman said nearly every piece deserves to be displayed.

"S.F. art community fears loss of Gap founder's massive collection"