By his own admission, there’s nothing special about Nion McEvoy’s shingled two-story home in Jordan Park, a neighborhood so understated it’s not sure if it’s Laurel Heights or the Inner Richmond.
Inside, though, there’s plenty to distinguish the place: curios, oddities, and countless titles arranged by category, housed in floor-to-ceiling bookcases befitting the CEO of Chronicle Books. And everywhere you look, from the walls to the tabletops, are works of art—an A-list collection nurtured by his late mother, Nan Tucker McEvoy, the pioneering newspaperwoman and granddaughter of M.H. de Young. “She had a very strong, innate aesthetic sense,” McEvoy says of his mother, who passed away in 2015.
Combined, the collections of mother and son have become the basis for the new McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, which opened October 28 in a 5,000-square-foot gallery at Minnesota Street Project. The foundation’s inaugural exhibition, la mère la mer, is dedicated to Nan’s love for California artists, featuring works by Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, Ed Ruscha, and David Hockney. Artists from further afield whom McEvoy admires are showcased as well, from Anne Collier to Ragnar Kjartansson.
But in his own home, McEvoy’s tastes run somewhat more eclectic. While his mother’s collection focused on 20th-century paintings, prints, and sculpture, his crosses genres and includes music, design, and video. “I think it’s a kind of synesthesia,” he says of his genre combining. “I really like the struggle to represent things musical in visual form.” On the eve of the foundation’s opening, we asked McEvoy to pick a few of his favorite things in the gallery above.
Originally published in the November 2017 issue of San Francisco Magazine