San Antonio Collects: Contemporary is an exhibition that recognizes the role that San Antonio collectors have played in the city’s evolution towards becoming recognized as a world renowned arts destination—a goal that has been articulated by Mayor Julian Castro in his vision for San Antonio 2020. Curated by David S. Rubin, The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art, the exhibition features 96 objects by 71 artists, selected from 30 private collections throughout San Antonio. This exhibition is a testament to the growth of San Antonio in its support for contemporary art. Altogether, the selections are international in scope, with 15 San Antonio artists participating in the global dialogue. There is a lot of diversity revealed, as the exhibition includes a wide range of styles, mediums, content issues, and artistic practices.
A core component of the exhibition pays homage to the late Linda Pace, whose internationally acclaimed collection of cutting-edge art is administered by the Linda Pace Foundation. Although many know of Linda Pace for her role in founding Artpace, San Antonio’s world-renowned artist residency program, Pace also had assembled a significant contemporary art collection by the time of her untimely death in 2007. Her legacy of collecting, in fact, includes more than 500 objects. Although the fourteen works from the Linda Pace Foundation Collection that are featured in San Antonio Collects: Contemporary represent just a fraction of the entire collection, these works reveal a great deal about Pace’s commitment to artists and her sense of direction. Pace often collected multiple works by particular artists, such as Leonardo Drew, Teresita Fernández, Jim Hodges, Isaac Julien, Christian Marclay, Annette Messager, and Do-Ho Suh, all of whom held residencies at Artpace. Additionally, two significant trends in her collecting may be observed. On one hand, Pace gravitated towards works that reveal a spiritual or ephemeral sensibility. On the other, she was a social activist through collecting, as she acquired numerous works in support of multiculturalism and equality for all.
In short, Pace was a humanist whose concern for artists and their life affirming works was far reaching. In addition to her remarkable achievements as a philanthropist and collector, Linda Pace was also an accomplished artist, and two of her own art works are included in the exhibition.
Besides honoring Linda Pace, San Antonio Collects: Contemporary sheds light on the vast range of collecting interests among the city’s contemporary art collectors. Guillermo Nicolás, for example, gravitates towards art that is playful. Alturas Foundation, like Linda Pace, collects certain artists in depth, so they are represented by several works by Sharon Core, who recreates well-known still life paintings photographically. Claudia Huntington and Marshall Miller are the lenders of large scale figurative sculpture by leading European artists. Contemporary African-American artists are featured in the collection of The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Foundation for the Arts, as well as in the international collection of Chris and Georgia Erck. Conceptual art, political art, and contemporary Latino art can be found in the collection of Zoe A. Diaz. Pete and Lyn Selig are interested in botanical imagery, animal subjects are a recurring feature of the collection of Tani and Tom Brundage, and narrative works are on loan from the collection of Michael D. Maloney. Sandra and Dr. Raphael Guerra have collected important San Antonio-based Latino artists early in their careers, while The Dicke Collection focuses on artists of national and international stature. Digital and optical art are represented in the collection of Jeff and Nancy Moorman, whereas the collection of Laura and Lew Moorman reveals a conceptual bent. Contemporary art from New Orleans is seen in the collection of Steve Trevino and Jorge Elizondo, while women and minority artists are prominently featured in the collections of Marge and Al Miller and Brad Parman. Primarily a print collector, Michael McGowan prefers works with political themes. All in all, San Antonio Collects: Contemporary is an exciting mix of recent art that reflects the rich cultural diversity of San Antonio.