San Francisco is getting an Institute of Contemporary Art — a new contemporary art museum without a permanent collection — in the already artsy Dogpatch neighborhood, and it's being partially bankrolled by the same folks behind the Minnesota Street Project.
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) San Francisco is coming to 901 Minnesota Street, an 11,000-square-foot industrial warehouse space that was formerly a kids' gymnasium. As the New York Times reports, its director will be Ali Gass, who formerly directed the ICA San Jose, and has held curator positions at SFMOMA and Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center.
The new museum has raised $2.5 million so far, which includes $1 million in seed funding from Andy and Deborah Rappaport, the couple behind the five-year-old Minnesota Street Project down the street.
Other ICAs already exist in Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, though they are unaffiliated museums.
"There is a truism in the venture capital world that the best companies get started at the worst times,” says Andy Rappaport, who is also a partner at August Capital, in a quote to the Chronicle. “We were attuned coming out of COVID to saying, how can we take advantage of the fact that there is a fertile environment now for that kind of creative thinking, and frankly a lot of energy for positivity and moving forward."
Also among the ICA San Francisco's first funders is Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and his wife Kaitlyn Trigger, who have agreed to fund the director's salary for the first three years.
Krieger tells the Chronicle, "We love getting in on the ground floor in the investing world,” said Mike Krieger. “(ICA San Francisco) is just getting started, getting ready to build out their space, creating their first programming."
Gass tells the Times that she was attracted to the idea of a non-collecting museum when she took the job at ICA San Jose.
"Collections cost an enormous amount to display and preserve,” she says. “One of the tenets of ICA SF is to address issues of pay equity for artists and staff. Instead of an arms race of collecting, we are committed to paying artists and museum workers an above-average salary for our region."
As for what the new museum will show, Gass says it will be 50-50 split between up-and-coming Bay Area artists and established artists.
"Starting an institution from scratch allows us to think deeply about contemporary art as a navigation tool for local and global issues," Gass tells the Times.
And as she told the Chronicle, "I think more than ever, museums are going to be less kind of formal discussions about our historical sort of artistic progression and much more, ‘Let’s learn with and through contemporary art practice how we can be better global citizens.’"
Construction is underway and the plan is to open ICA San Francisco next summer. The space will be open, however, while under construction, in January, to coincide with the FOG Design+Art Fair.
Photo: Google Street View