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With 195 new donations, SFMOMA fills in gaps in collection -- and in Fisher material

February 4, 2011 |  8:45 am

Beuys
Don and Doris Fisher's recent contribution of some 1,100 artworks to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art easily ranks as the most generous gift (or, more precisely, 100-year renewable loan) in the museum's history. But it doesn't tell the most generous or expansive story imaginable about contemporary art. That's one way, anyway, to read the museum's announcement Thursday that it has managed to secure a staggering 195 promised gifts from nine other local collectors.

Judging from the museum's initial description of the artworks, many fall in the realm of conceptual art -- the one collecting field where the Fishers, drawn to high-impact Pop Art and minimalist sculpture, did not venture so adventurously.

The new donations for instance include 30 sculptures and works on paper by Joseph Beuys, the shamanistic figure known for turning personal emblems and rituals into sculpture and performance (as in the image above), and 12 works by Bruce Nauman, whose output is varied in form but pretty consistently challenging.

In his article on the acquisition, San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker also singles out two works by Jackson Pollock "from his pivotal period at the turn of the 1950s," a 1963 figurative painting by Francis Bacon, and an Yves Klein sponge painting done in his trademark color blue. As Baker reports, the museum sees all of these acquisitions as the first phase in a "Collections Campaign," meant to culminate with the opening of the new museum wing in 2016.

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--Jori Finkel
twitter.com/jorifinkel

Image: Joseph Beuys, Untitled (Vitrine with Four Objects / Plateau Central), 1962-1983; mixed media in painted wood, steel, and glass vitrine; Collection SFMOMA, fractional and promised gift of Norah and Norman Stone; © 2011 © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, Germany.

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