on 18 Oct 2016 3:35 PM
  • Press
Anniversary marks important leadership change at renowned institution
October 18, 2016

San Diego—On the occasion of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD)’s 75th anniversary, MCASD visionaries Dr. Hugh M. Davies, Kathryn Kanjo, Board President Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, and architect Annabelle Selldorf launched the 75th anniversary capital campaign to raise $75 million towards an expansion of the La Jolla facility, quadrupling the current gallery space.

Led by a group of devoted Board members and major donors, the campaign is $2.2 million away from reaching a major challenge grant. Current gifts, including the challenge, total $56.7 million. Early supporters include Melissa and Michael Bartell, Mary and James Berglund, Barbara Bloom, Matt and Nancy Browar, Karen and Donald Cohn, The David C. Copley Foundation, Carolyn Farris, Pauline Foster and the Foster Family, Margaret Jackson, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Paul and Genevieve Jacobs, Maryanne and Irwin Pfister, Colette Carson and Dr. Ivor Royston, and Iris and Matthew Strauss.

“The Board has enthusiastically supported our plans for expansion and subsequent capital campaign and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Hugh M. Davies, who has served as the Museum’s David C. Copley Director and CEO for the last 33 years but today transitions into a new role as Director of Expansion and Capital Campaign. The Museum’s current Deputy Director of Art and Programs, Kathryn Kanjo, becomes the new David C. Copley Director and CEO effective immediately.

“When I arrived in San Diego in 1983, I had my sights set on expansion in La Jolla,” said Davies. “In many ways, I’ve been working toward the goals this project will accomplish ever since.” The expansion project will break ground in 2017 with an anticipated reopening in 2020.

Beginning in January 2017, the Museum will close its La Jolla location to ready the building for construction. At that time, programming will be consolidated to the Jacobs and Copley Buildings at the Museum’s downtown location at 1100 Kettner Blvd. MCASD will continue to deliver the high-quality exhibitions and programming it has become known for at the downtown location during the closure.

Lauded for innovation in the museum field, MCASD is recognized internationally, boasting a world-renowned 4,700-piece permanent collection which includes painting, sculpture, print, photography, video, installation, and site-specific artworks. Currently, the majority of the collection languishes in storage due to space constraints. By quadrupling current gallery space from 10,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet, MCASD can simultaneously exhibit its collection as well as changing exhibitions. MCASD will function as a museum of modern and contemporary art with today’s artists exhibited alongside celebrated masters of the past in an architectural setting worthy of its lauded collection and spectacular site.

“We believe that experiencing contemporary masterworks of the last six decades will inform every viewer’s understanding of today’s contemporary works and allow them to reflect on their context,” said Kathryn Kanjo, the new David C. Copley Director and CEO.

The Museum has engaged Selldorf Architects for the project. The New York City-based firm has extensive experience in both cultural projects and renovations as evidenced by the award-winning Neue Galerie in New York City and galleries for David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth among others. MCASD La Jolla will be the firm’s first contemporary art museum and their first major commission on the West Coast.

“This museum has such an important permanent collection, it was critical to provide more space for it,” said Annabelle Selldorf, founding Principal at the firm.  “By creating a more permeable and accessible environment that connects to the natural beauty of the site, I hope that people will spend more time here—not only to come and see the wonderful art, but for it to become a more integrated part of the community and their daily lives.”

La Jolla based firm Alcorn & Benton has been working with the Museum and Selldorf on the regulatory and approvals process.

The Museum’s 75th anniversary will be celebrated publicly this week with several programs, culminating in a free Community Day on Saturday, October 22 sponsored by Audrey S. Geisel, San Diego Foundation/Dr. Seuss Fund. The public is invited to enjoy free admission from 11 AM-5 PM, architectural and gallery tours, art-making activities, food truck fare, a pop-up park, live music, and a panel discussion at 11 AM, MCASD at 75, featuring Davies and Kanjo discussing the history and future of the Museum in a conversation with artist Kim MacConnel and Board members Christopher Calkins, Carolyn Farris, and Dr. Charles G. Cochrane. The talk will be moderated by Derrick Cartwright, Director of University Galleries and Professor of Practice at the University of San Diego.

For more information about MCASD’s 75th anniversary programs, please visit www.mcasd.org/75th. All media requests may be directed to Communications and Marketing Manager, Leah Straub.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,700 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Kathryn Kanjo is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD. Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. www.mcasd.org



Leah Straub, Communications & Marketing Manager, 858 454 3541 x119, lstraub@mcasd.org

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