Gap Founders Propose Art Museum in San Francisco’s Presidio

Legion of Honor, one of San Francisco’s fine arts museums, at night in January 2017
Legion of Honor, one of San Francisco’s fine arts museums, at night in January 2017 Wikimedia Commons

Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of the estimated $16 billion-per-year retail giant the Gap, announced last week a proposal to fund the design and construction of a contemporary art museum in San Francisco to house their extensive collection of 20th and 21st century art.

The Fishers, who have made ARTnews’s top ten list of world art collectors in 1993 and 2003, have a collection of more than 1,000 works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Cy Twombly and other greats, with enough pieces by some artists to show changes over the course of their careers. 

The 100,000-square-foot museum with 55,000 square feet of gallery space would be built in what is now a seven-acre parking lot in the Presidio, a former U.S. military facility turned national park with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, it’s not a done deal. The Presidio’s seven-member board, which is accepting other proposals for the spot, has final say.

Having explored other options, such as building a new wing on the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Donald Fisher decided to build his own museum so that he could have the space and control to ensure that the public could view all his works. Fisher has essentially been acting as curator of his collection all along, displaying many in the Gap’s San Francisco headquarters.

The Fishers have chosen Gluckman Mayner Architects of New York City, who worked on the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and others, for the design of the proposed Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio (CAMP). If accepted, the tentative completion stands at 2010.

(Image courtesy of the estate of Roy Lichtenstein)

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