The long search for a home for Don Fisher’s art collection continues after the Gap founder’s preferred Presidio location met with intractable community opposition:
After a two-year battle with preservationists, Fisher, 80, abandoned that ambition last month. Now the fate of his collection, which includes about a thousand works by such artists as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Alexander Calder and is conservatively valued in the tens of millions of dollars, has San Francisco’s art community fearful that the city could lose an irreplaceable cultural treasure.
“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. […]
The amount of curatorial control the Fisher family would retain if they donated the collection to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was a point of past discussion, Tourk said. In addition, Fisher would require that the collection receive considerable space, about 100,000 to 150,000 square feet, roughly half the size of the SFMoMA.
“The collection is of such depth and importance that it could stand alone in its own museum,” said Paul Schimmel, chief curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. “These collectors — and there are only a handful of them in the world — want to know how their collections will be used.”
S.F. art community fears loss of Gap founder’s massive collection (Los Angeles Times)