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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego adds Rothko, Kusama, and López acquisitions to expansive collection
In-situ image of Ellsworth Kelly, Red Blue Green, 1963. Oil on canvas, 83 5/8 x 135 7/8 in. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jack M. Farris. Courtesy of MCASD.



SAN DIEGO, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego announced the acquisitions of works by Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Yayoi Kusama, and Yolanda López (1942-2021), adding to an expansive collection of 5,600 objects in all media, dating from 1950 to the present. Kusama’s Dreaming Pumpkin (2012), gifted to the museum by Joan and Irwin Jacobs, will grace the lobby of the newly expanded La Jolla flagship when it opens to the public on April 9th after a $105 million renovation and expansion by world-renowned Selldorf Architects. The La Jolla building will be renamed in honor of generous donors and arts supporters Joan and Irwin Jacobs, whose gift of $20 million provided the foundation for the extensive fundraising efforts.

The Museum is also pleased to acquire a work by pathbreaking artist and activist Yolanda López. Her monumental Runner: On My Own! (1977) will be on view at the MCASD Downtown campus in the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. Additional acquisitions include works by Mely Barragán, Maren Hassinger, Richard Hunt, Isaac Julien, Anselm Kiefer, and Morris Louis, further cementing MCASD’s identity as a regional museum with an international view, and all of which will be on view at the inaugural collection installation.

In 1969, MCASD was one of the first museums to take on a contemporary focus and devote itself to the acquisition and exhibition of twentieth-century art, collecting new works by artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Miriam Schapiro, Larry Bell, and Agnes Martin. Approximately 80 percent of the Museum’s holdings entered as gifts from donors, and notably, the 1950s are represented in the collection by promised and completed gifts from four extraordinary donors: Barbara Bloom, Carolyn Farris, Murray Gribin, and Vance Kondon. Now, through various gifts and purchases, the collection has grown to represent the increasing multiplicity of contemporary art and embraces artistic innovations from the mid-twentieth century to today with a focus on the ongoing legacies of abstraction in arts of the Americas and Europe. International in scope, the holdings boast strengths in abstraction and minimalism, California art since 1960, art from Latin America, and installation art. It demonstrates pride of place: the West Coast, broadly, and San Diego specifically.

With the Selldorf expansion, MCASD’s flagship building is, at last, scaled to showcase the work it has collected over the past decades and will quadruple the gallery space from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet with soaring twenty-foot-tall ceilings. The expansion allows for the permanent hangings of highlights of the Museum’s collection, including works by John Baldessari, Larry Bell, Sam Gilliam, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, Martin Puryear, and Marcos Ramírez ERRE, to name a few.

Kathryn Kanjo, David C. Copley Director and CEO, comments: “Unfolding chronologically, each gallery at the La Jolla flagship is dedicated to a particular movement, circle of artists, or artistic strategy. These wide-ranging groupings incite multi-generational conversations which trace contemporaneous and, at times, contradictory accounts of modern and contemporary art. Beloved pieces keep company with works on view for the first time at MCASD, as new acquisitions and familiar works share gallery space in this inaugural installation.”










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