In the News

New McEvoy Foundation for the Arts celebrates art and family

Seeing the works in la mère la mer, the opening exhibition at the new McEvoy Foundation for the Arts at Minnesota and 24th Streets, was like “seeing old friends,” said Ellanor Notides of Christie’s. “The paintings are all wonderful things we all know and love.” Many of the works had been sold to Nion McEvoy and to his mother, Nan McEvoy, by gallerists who were present at the preview Saturday, Oct. 28; many had been admired by friends who were there; many, I am guessing, had been coveted by museum officials and curators there.

The new gallery space is “a great addition,” said the Fine Arts Museums’ Max Hollein, “and I like the playfulness of it.”

“It’s a major thing for the city,” added art dealer Jeffrey Fraenkel, “another feather in the San Francisco cap.”

Fraenkel himself has a gallery downtown, and also the Fraenkel/LAB just west of mid-Market. In the past few years, he noted, the art community has spread to the Tenderloin (Modernism, Jessica Silverman, more), Potrero (Jack Fischer, Catharine Clark, Brian Gross, George Lawson, Todd Hosfel) and Dogpatch (Minnesota Street Project, Altman Siegel, Adrian Rosenfeld, more). “It’s a bigger city than we think,” Fraenkel said. “It can accommodate several pockets of activity … several art neighborhoods can fly.”

The show, as described by Charles Desmarais, reflects a marriage of marine themes and mother McEvoy’s passions. Nan McEvoy’s family used to own The Chronicle and she was publisher for a time. The exhibition includes an Ed Ruscha work that focuses on the word “News” and an untitled Diebenkorn painting of a woman reading a newspaper.

Did McEvoy mother and son discuss possible purchases with each other? “Not really,” he said. “If I saw things that I thought would appeal to her, then I would bring them to her attention. I bought her a couple of things, but they were photographs, more my world.” Among those works, not in this exhibition, Larry Sultan’s My Father Reading the Newspaper. Such works were gifts for birthdays and the like.

This exhibition was curated by Kevin Moore, and, over the years, both members of the family have employed professional consultants on many purchases. But the McEvoys descend from the de Youngs, and the family’s contributions to the arts in San Francisco are legion. So it’s a special pleasure for everyone in the art community to admire the works as a reflection of the collectors’ particular passions. On Saturday morning, when I saw this show and the gleaming new gallery, I was side by side with many art professionals. But I left feeling I had also taken a walk along the shore with mother and son.