FAMSF Blog

Museums and Art Fairs: The Inside Story

Spring in San Francisco brings with it a season of art fairs, including artMRKT whose opening night preview reception this Thursday, May 16 benefits the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s newly created New Acquisitions Fund. Featuring 70 galleries from around the globe, artMRKT provides a unique opportunity for museum professionals and art enthusiasts to gather, discuss, and view the world’s premier contemporary and modern art. This year, artMRKT includes a series of special lectures presented by several of our own curators, including Emma Acker, assistant curator of American art. We sat down with Ms. Acker to discuss the relationship between art fairs and museums, such as the de Young and the Legion of Honor.

Emma Acker, assistant curator of American art

Assistant curator of American art, Emma Acker
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On the Hunt for Rembrandt

The special exhibition Rembrandt’s Century, closing on June 2, is remarkable not only for its breadth but also for the fact that it is drawn primarily from the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts (AFGA), the works on paper department at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. As curator Jim Ganz relates, this exhibition’s compilation required an epic treasure hunt through the Museums’ permanent collections, an endeavor that proved neither easy nor efficient, but was ultimately incredibly fruitful.

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669). Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window, 1648. Etching, drypoint, and engraving. Bruno and Sadie Adriani Collection. 1959.40.19

Rembrandt's Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window, 1648
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A Trompe-l'oeil Traveler

One of the most exciting aspects of working in paper conservation at the Legion of Honor is the variety of objects encountered on a daily basis. When working on a 17th-century print, for example, conservation intern Laura Neufeld faced many traditional paper conservation challenges. Pier Gustafson’s Father’s Suitcase, on the other hand, is a one-of-a kind artwork that required unique treatment solutions.

Conservation intern Laura Neufeld works on Pier Gustafson's paper suitcase
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Stella!!!

Step into Gallery 14 at the de Young and you will immediately encounter the riot of geometric color that is Frank Stella’s impressive 12-foot-square painting, Lettre sur les aveugles II (1974). This vibrant new acquisition represents the first of Stella’s paintings to enter the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Frank Stella (American, b. 1936). Lettre sur les aveugles II, 1974. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Museum Purchase, Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Major Accessions. 2013.1

Frank Stella's Lettre sur les aveugles II, 1974
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Rescuing Memories: de Young Artist Fellow Lenora Lee

Lenora Lee is a dancer, a choreographer, and a current de Young Artist Fellow. As the artistic director of Lenora Lee Dance, she has created interdisciplinary performances that integrate dance, martial arts, video projection, music, and text. During her yearlong fellowship, Lee will complete two new performances, The Escape and Rescued Memories: New York Stories, both of which are inspired by stories of Chinese women who immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century.

Photo by Lei Chen

Lenora Lee by Lei Chen
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