: views from the Hill

Sunday, September 16, 2007

If I were a rich man ... Donald Fisher and the Contemporary Art Museum

Donald Fisher, founder of Gap, offers to build a museum in the Presidio to house his art collection

Gap founder Donald Fisher, one of the world's leading contemporary art collectors and a powerful force in local politics, has offered to build a sprawling museum in the Presidio to showcase his vast collection, which until now has largely been hidden away in his company's San Francisco headquarters.

Since Fisher and his wife, Doris, founded Gap Inc. in 1969, they have amassed what is widely considered to be among the most extensive private collections of 20th and 21st century art. Yet with the exception of pieces that are occasionally loaned to museums, much of what they own has never been seen by people outside the art world.

The Fishers, whose retail empire brings in about $16 billion a year, hope to build a 100,000-square-foot museum with 55,000 square feet of gallery space -- 5,000 more square feet than at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art -- to house their collection of more than 1,000 works.

Donald Fisher, 78, will announce his plan to build the Contemporary Art Museum of the Presidio today at a news conference in the national park.


If I were a rich man ...

The sleepy southeast quadrant of San Francisco is buzzing with activity -- first the Ballpark, then the new UC Medical Center and all the accompanying activity at Mission Bay and soon, perhaps, a new football stadium and thousands of new homes at Hunters Point. Don Fisher's Contemporary Art Museum would be a perfect addition to the mix.

We just spent a day at the Tate Modern in London. The revitalization of the south bank is largely due to the visionaries who placed the museum there. Think of the effect of having the CAM located on our southeast bay shore near Pier 70/Potrero Point!

The T-Third provides public transit access to the location. There's even room for parking. Some dream of having water taxis operating up and down the bay edge. Picture vaporettos stopping at the CAM en route from the new stadium at Hunters Point to Fort Point and places in between.

There are alternatives to the Presidio for a spot for the Contemporary Art Museum, creative, wonderful alternatives. Build the CAM in our southeastern quadrant, at the edge of the Bay down near Pier 70.

If I were a rich man ...

Are you listening, Donald Fisher? There are alternatives to the Presidio for the Contemporary Art Museum. Make a statement by setting the CAM in our southeastern quadrant at a spot at the edge of the Bay.

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