Private collectors show their treasures in MCASD exhibit

San Diego Collects, Sept. 26-Jan. 10, features cherished artwork of top local collectors

San Diego Collects Exhibit

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Wednesday. Sept. 26-

Jan. 10, 2016

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego,

700 Prospect St., La Jolla

Members Opening: 7 p.m., Sept. 25 with International Collectors Dinner

Gallery Walk-Through: 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 with Kathryn Kanjo, deputy director of art and programs. Free for museum members, free with paid museum admission for non-members.

Admission: $5-$10.

Free 5-7 p.m. third Thursday

Info: (858) 454-3541,

Also on View: ‘One Cannot Look: Graphic Wars’ (Sept. 26-Nov. 29)

The title of an upcoming exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) in La Jolla is also a statement of fact: “San Diego Collects.” This show, which opens Sept. 26 and runs through Jan. 10 of next year, features works from the private collections of San Diego art owners who have loaned their cherished pieces to the museum for temporary display. The works are dominated by paintings, or two-dimensional pieces, but do include some sculpture and mixed media, and reflect (in connection with the museum’s historical focus) the 1950s to today.

This exhibition will showcase more than 50 works from up to 22 private collections. Among those represented: painters Robert Motherwell and David Hockney, Italian sculptor/painter Mimmo Paladino and video artist Brian Bress, whose loaned piece MCASD’s Kathryn Kanjo called “completely mesmerizing, funny and beguiling.”

Kanjo, deputy director of art and programs for the museum, was at the forefront of the idea for “San Diego Collects.”

“I see this as a continuing interest in the region,” said Kanjo. “It’s not our objects — it’s theirs. We want to say that it’s not just us — we’re not the only place that cares about material culture and these visual art objects.”

The process of identifying and securing loaned works for “San Diego Collects” began “with collections that we knew through the museum, so a lot of these works I have seen in people’s homes over time.” Approximately 10 percent of the loaned works are “promised” to MCASD for the future, Kanjo said.

Those whose private works are part of the exhibition “will be recognized in the credit line of the wall label,” explained Kanjo. “Some of our lenders want to remain anonymous. We’ll reference them more as a group in the introductory text.”

Kanjo speaks for the museum when she says she hopes the show will enlighten with the familiar and also make viewers think critically about new possibilities.

“We have this advantage of being able to show artists whose work may be familiar to the broad public,” said Kanjo, citing works by the likes of Hockney. “I think that’s going to be appealing. And I think once they (viewers) come to the exhibition they’ll be introduced to newer works that are going to thrill them.” This is where Kanjo first mentioned Brian Bress, whose multimedia piece is electronic.

“These works have more representational or conceptual grist that people will have to think about in a different way,” said Kanjo.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that the “San Diego Collects” exhibition mirrors the MCASD’s own works. “This feels like a perfectly historical show,” said Kanjo. “People come in and see strong examples of noted art historical figures from 1950 to the present. In a way, this exhibition looks like what our collection looks like, which is at this point historical.”

“San Diego Collects” is just as much about the art collectors who’ve loaned their works for the exhibition as it is about the pieces themselves. “They’re curious and they’re committed,” Kanjo said. “I hope this (exhibition) reminds us that this museum, like most, has a collection that is strongly shaped by donations. Without the charitable impulse of collectors we would have a less robust collection.

“Most of our audience are not collectors, but some of them are, so this is a nice way to remember that we’re not just this rarefied institution, that what we do is actually being done by many, this collecting and caring about contemporary art.”