“When we open, almost all the works in these designated galleries will be Fisher Collection so that people can understand the character of the collection, its quality, range, and depth,” says Gary Garrels, senior curator of painting and sculpture at the museum, who has mixed only six key pieces from SFMOMA’s own collection into this monographic display in the Fisher Collection Galleries.
A hallmark of the Fishers’ collecting, which the couple did together starting in the 1970s, was acquiring the work of artists they loved in great depth. From the 40 Calder sculptures they owned, Garrels has picked eight for one gallery to show the different ways the artist handled movement across his career. He is devoting three galleries to displaying some of the 22 works by Richter in the Fisher Collection. (Together with the 21 Richters already owned by the museum, SFMOMA is now the finest repository in the world of the artist’s work, according to Richter himself.) Other artists that get galleries of their own include
(Doris’s favorite artist),
(who, shortly before his recent death, called the four-gallery installation plan for his work “a museum within a museum”).
Under the terms of the agreement, once every 10 years another such monographic display will be installed throughout the Fisher Collection Galleries. During the other 90 years, the museum’s own collection can be cycled in as long as 75% of the works in these designated galleries are Fisher pieces, which will get the same care, scholarship, and conservation as every other work in the museum. Garrels doesn’t feel the 75% threshold ties his hands curatorially. “There are so many possibilities about how to approach this collection,” he says. “Some much more unorthodox ideas are already bubbling for future rotations.”