Ever had the strange experience of discovering a single common denominator behind a bunch of your favorite things? That common denominator just might be Nion McEvoy. SF-based Chronicle Books publisher and founder of the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Nion McEvoy is also a philanthropist, photography aficionado, olive grove impresario, and longtime supporter and patron of 20×200 (among a million other things). We consider ourselves very lucky to have his seal of approval, and even more fortunate to have secured some of his time to chat beautiful books, accessible art, and everything in between, over here on our li’l old Live With Art podcast.
McEvoy is chairman and CEO of Chronicle Books, the exceptional imprint that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. The publishing house pays special attention to the design and illustration of their books, so naturally, they’ve got our number. He’s also the great-grandson of M.H. de Young, who co-founded the San Francisco Chronicle in 1865. You may recognize that name from a favorite San Francisco art museum in Golden Gate Park—McEvoy and his mother contributed $10 million to building the de Young Museum. Beyond that, he presides over McEvoy Ranch, 556-acres of olive trees just south of Petaluma. And there’s so much more McEvoy is involved in. Suffice it to say he’s a busy guy, and he uses his position and connections to bring people together and do a whole lotta good.
He recently launched the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts—a public space that’s part of the Minnesota Street project, in which McEvoy shares his family’s private art collection on a rotating basis. (Check out our podcast featuring the Minnesota Street Project’s formidable co-founding couple!) In keeping with his democratized vision of the arts, all exhibitions are free and open to the public. The opening reception for their third-ever exhibition was just last Saturday, June 2nd.
20×200 head honcho Jen Bekman sat down with McEvoy (whom she’s known for ages) for a tête-à-tête, of which we get to play fly-on-the-wall. The result is a riveting and super charming convo that touches on the changing art scene in SF, how to get people engaged in the arts, and the transportive powers of art in trying times. But don’t take our word for it—tune into Episode 5 of Live With Art ya’self!
With art for everyone on the airwaves,
Jen Bekman + Team 20×200
The 411 on Nion McEvoy
Nion McEvoy is the Chairman & CEO of Chronicle Books LLC and of The McEvoy Group LLC. Chronicle Books, based in San Francisco, California is known for its excellence in design and the strong popular appeal of its titles, including such best-sellers as The Beatles Anthology, Press Here, and Plenty. Photo titles include David Maisel’s Library of Dust, Elinor Carucci’s Closer, Jim Marshall’s Proof, and Andrew Zuckerman’s Creature. Mr. McEvoy joined Chronicle Books in 1986, and served as Editor-in-Chief of the adult trade division. In 2000 he acquired the company through The McEvoy Group, which also includes I See Me, Galison/Mudpuppy, and Princeton Architectural Press. Mr. McEvoy worked previously in the business affairs departments of the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills and of Wescom Productions. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and of UC Hastings College of the Law. He is currently Chairman of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s (SAAM) Board of Commissioners and serves on the boards of Aperture, SFFILM, SFMOMA, and the UCSF Foundation. He is also on the accessions committees at SFMOMA and SAAM. He has two sons and a daughter, and plays drums in two elusive bands, Rough Draft and Thinking in Pictures.