CAMP: Revised Design

According to John King, “Gap founder Donald Fisher and his family have decided to abandon their efforts to build a contemporary art museum at the Main Post of San Francisco’s Presidio.”

“In calling off an effort that began with acclaim but turned into the city’s fiercest development battle in a decade, the family holds open the possibility it might still try to build a home in the Presidio for its collection of work by such artists as Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder.

But the Fishers also say they are open to looking outside the city – and the Bay Area – before deciding what to try and do next.”

Fishers give up on plan for Presidio art museum [SFGate]
A Toned Down CAMP And Revised Main Post Plan For The Presidio [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by astonished

    So, if he cannot put his art where HE wants, he may take it to another city as a way to punish everyone? Why would Don only want to build the museum at the top and center of the historic Presidio Parade? What about the waterfront, Mission Bay, or even Market Street or the Civic Center? Does his house have a view of the Presidio location and it is some sort of ego thing?

  2. Posted by superuber

    Mission Bay seems like a logical place, the Fishers have along history with it and they could have their pick of setting … i think of some great spots that would make sense for Warhol

  3. Posted by Fishchum

    I’m elated. This was a horrible idea from the get-go. Even the more “modified” proposal was completely out of synch with the rest of the Main Post.
    Why is Fisher so insistent on building this museum in this location? There must be other spots that make more sense for a modern art museum (The current home of the Exploratorium comes to mind).
    The Presidio is a park. The last thing it needs are more cars, tourists and traffic clogging the already congested roads. Leave it for the bicyclists, hikers, joggers, dog walkers and history buffs who value this unique space.

  4. Posted by electrician

    “So, if he cannot put his art where HE wants, he may take it to another city as a way to punish everyone?”
    That’s a ridiculous statement. Last I heard, the art in question is his, and it seems like he can do with it whatever he pleases. The Gap-dude has no obligation to display that art anywhere. So he wanted it in a prominent location – good for him. If the city and its citizens don’t want it there, so be it.

  5. Posted by Anna

    NIMBYs win again…
    The question now is whether the Fishers will invest additional time and money on a local proposal, trusting the word of critics who have said they would like to see the renowned collection stay in the city as long as a museum was built at a less sensitive location.
    That’s the hope of Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who in her comment letter on the Main Post plan said the effort to make room for the museum and other growth “fails to adequately consider and plan for traffic impacts on local streets.”
    Wednesday, Alioto-Pier struck a more conciliatory tone.
    “It’s incumbent on us to do what we can to facilitate the process and keep this truly fabulous collection in San Francisco,” said Alioto-Pier, whose district includes the Presidio. The family’s desire to finance and operate a public museum to exhibit its art “is such a remarkable offer that we should be doing everything we can to help the Fishers find a new location.”
    If this museum doesn’t get built it will be a huge loss for San Francisco and we will have no one to blame but…Michela Alioto-Pier and the like.

  6. Posted by LJL

    Kind of a weird situation. Why is everyone so attached to the Presidio the way it is now? Like most people who chimed in, I would also prefer that this museum be more downtown (or that he just donate the art to SFMOMA) but why is the Presidio such a sacred site? On the other hand, why is he so set on building this thing there? Don’t really get it.

  7. Posted by Fishchum

    LJL – The Presidio is considered a sacred site because that’s where San Francisco first began. When you add to that the military importance and history of the location, it’s very easy to see why people feel the way they do about it.

  8. Posted by Mole Man

    This will probably never happen, but the old I Magnin building in Oakland might be a good match for this use.

  9. Posted by Jackson Pollack's Liver

    Yes, the bowling alley and huge swath of unused pavement where this museum and lawn where going to go is much loved by the “bicyclists, hikers, joggers, dog walkers and history buffs who value this unique space.”
    What a waste of an opportunity. What a bunch of ingrates.

  10. Posted by pumpkin patch

    Disclaimer: I haven’t been following this too closely so, my statements might seem a bit out of it but…
    One one side of the coin, The Presidio could benefit from more interesting sites. It really feels like a ghost town in there–and, some places are run down.
    On the other side of the coin, I think it is important to respect the historical quality and beauty of the space. Lucas respected it…

  11. Posted by Joe

    How incredibly disappointing.
    I swear this town is so oppressively rigid with anything related to development.
    I hope Fisher takes his collection to some place more “progressive” than SF – like Boise, or Montgomery AL where people dont make a career out of looking gift horses in the mouth.
    Why do we have so many urban hillbillys? WE DONT NEED NO STINKIN’ FANCY ART YA HEAR?
    San Francisco: hopelessly and forever MEDIOCRE

  12. Posted by anon

    Pier 30-32 please!

  13. Posted by OneEyedMan

    Yeah, we don’t need no stinkin Warhols out there. We have a fountain with Yoda. Now that’s what we call art.

  14. Posted by theo

    If Fisher cared about sharing his art with the public anywhere near as much as he cared about building himself a monument, he would have proposed to put it somewhere with access to transit. What good is a museum, in SF, that you can only drive to?
    He has so many other options with much better access. The Commissary (Sports Basement). The former Exploratorium. Next to SFMOMA. Mission Bay.

  15. Posted by flaneur

    According to a Supervisor I spoke with, the problem with alternate locations under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor is they will let Fisher build a Museum, but they will not let him built an ancillary parking garage, and Fisher feels that a Museum requires its own parking.

  16. Posted by Joe

    Hey Theo,
    Who are you to offer suggestions for someone elses gift?
    Do you know all of the ramifications of locating the collection in another space that already exists?
    Why do you feel so empowered to tell people how to spend their money?

  17. Posted by NoeNut

    This is a big bummer. Cities change, architecture changes…it’s called evolution! Should we get rid of all of the pavement, including parking lots, in the Presidio because they weren’t there 100 years ago? Should we ban all cars and turn off all of the lights too?
    Yes, it would have been better to put the museum nearer to transit, but now we get nothing because we’ve turned our back on this gift.

  18. Posted by lyqwyd

    Thanks NIMBY assholes. What a disappointment that a few jackasses can jeopardize a great museum that would benefit the entire city of San Francisco.

  19. Posted by Fishchum

    Joe – I’ll gladly step aside and let Don Fisher do what he wants if he decides to actually, you know, BUY THE LAND that he wants to build his museum.
    Wanna build it in a public park? Get the consent of the people. If not, tough.

  20. Posted by RJ

    I have it on good authority that they originally planned to donate the collection to SFMOMA but ego got in the way as he wanted to name it the “Fisher Museum” or something like that. Hopefully they will reconsider.

  21. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    I agree that city change and that the collection going elsewhere would be a big loss for SF. But I also agree that the Presidio is a truly historic site for SF and should be developed with that in mind. I live in Chicago when Soldier’s Memorial Field was remodeled bu the Bears and it was sad to see the historic elements of the stadium all but obliterated in favor of what looks like a giant stainless steel salad bowl.
    I think the city should bend over backwards to try and keep the collection within SF but that it should not come at the cost of one of the truly historic sites in SF.
    The lack of public transit options is also major head scratcher. The Presidio is basically cut off from MUNI. It would be nice to see Fisher just as concerned with people getting to the museum as he is with it’s aesthetic elements.

  22. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    Oh and for those who think preservation fights for military sites, such as the Presidio, don’t matter, I suggest you take a trip to San Antonio and visit the Alamo. No other historic sight, that I know of, is as disappointing or as sad.

  23. Posted by Poor in PacHeights

    I’ve always thought the Presidio was an odd choice of locations. Maybe MR. GAP would have had better luck if he had gotten the SF Realtors to rename that portion of the Presido a new neighborhood – like Lucas Gap Heights, then the preservationists would have had no foot to stand on…I think a place near MOMA would be a perfect spot for it…critical Museum Mass!

  24. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    …Fisher feels that a Museum requires its own parking.”
    Ugh.
    Not only do some people think that the automobile is required for comfort and prosperity, that meme has extended to the appreciation of culture. It must have been hell before WWII when no-one could visit a museum due to the scarcity of automobiles.
    I just scoured my memory trying to remember when the last time I drove to a museum. Though I probably visit museums about a dozen times a year, the most recent time I can recall taking a car was decades ago when my grandmother drove me to a museum.
    I think Fisher has an axe to grind about SF’s policies of gradually phasing out automobile subsidies. He’s using this art collection as a bribe to get his way.
    I see no great loss if the museum ends up outside of SF. There’s no reason for the city to hoard art, SF’s loss will be another city’s gain and I’ll look forward to viewing the Fisher collection wherever it ends up.

  25. Posted by Jackson Pollack's Liver

    I don’t get it. The Presidio is not like Gettysburg or some perfectly preserved site. Already, there are schools, businesses, restaurants, a golf course, a crowded beach, a friggin bowling alley, a wine storage facility, a rock climbing gym, a theater that will be renovated for, gasp! actual use, and housing where people live (with cars and dogs!) all along side historically important buildings and artifacts. It is not, and has never been under a glass case. Adding a culturally significant institution is not exactly putting a McDonald’s on Plymouth Rock or a tee shirt shack at Monticello. It will only cause more people to enjoy the Presidio, including its historic aspects.
    As far as Muni, seems simple enough to move the bus stops a few blocks. Then the Milkshake’s mom wont have to drop him off out front.

  26. Posted by Conifer

    Why is there so much anger at Fisher? I think it is jealousy. When the richest families in NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and other cities offered collections, in an earlier time, they were accepted graciously by museums. Some of their houses (Frick) became museums, as in other cities of the world. Some of them built their own museums, (Guggenheim), as Fisher wants to do.
    While contemporary art is not for me, some of it will be very important in 100 years.
    I hope Fisher finds another place in SF, perhaps in the museum district at Yerba Buena.

  27. Posted by enid

    The museum didn’t belong in the Presidio, not only because the design was totally incongruous. I’m not saying the giant swath of concrete that is currently the Parade Grounds is sacred, nor that things can’t be changed here (I work in the Presidio, hence the “here”). But without taking into consideration increased traffic in the park (have you ever driven here?) and no plans to improve/increase public transportation, it was just a plain poor site. And once you take away park land, you’ll likely never get it back. Develop somewhere else.
    And to you foul-mouthed posters, why is it such a problem that the people San Francisco don’t want to accept a gift that comes with conditions? There should be room for negotiation. Why not in Mission Bay? A modern museum would fit perfectly in those surroundings and would probably help the neighborhood, local businesses, etc.
    I also don’t think museums have to come with parking. It’s easy enough on public transport to get to that neighborhood. Americans need to realize they have no god-given right to cart their big butts around in polluting, obesity-forming, gas-guzzling modes of transport.

  28. Posted by Rocco

    @Fishchum: San Francisco did not “begin” at The Presidio. It began around the Mission Dolores and at a site called Yuerba Buena, around 16th Street between Guerrero and Valencia.
    Don Fisher can take his collection anywhere he wants. He was never giving it to San Francisco- it would remain a private entity. Ozymandias, anyone?

  29. Posted by DavidQ

    Every time I drive to the Met, MOMA, and the Guggenheim I’m glad they put a big parking structure next door to each of them. It saves valuable time that I can spend enjoying the priceless works of art.
    Oh, wait.

  30. Posted by BobN

    I don’t get it.
    Maybe that’s because you’re trying to avoid getting it. The problem wasn’t putting the museum in the Presidio, it was putting in at the top of — and to some extent in the middle of — the Main Post.
    No, the Main Post isn’t Gettysburg. But it’s the closest thing to Gettysburg you can find on the West Coast.

  31. Posted by D

    Great. Instead of an art museum, we will get… Anyone? Anyone? That’s right: nothing.

  32. Posted by Fishchum

    D – What we’ll get is a national park currently enjoyed by thousands of residents and tourists alike.

  33. Posted by viewlover

    THis guy was paying for the building himself, Lucas and Yoda are not necessarily “historical” in the same sense that the Presidio is historical, and some of those newer buildings in the Presidio look pretty modern to me. This one was going to be primarily underground and beyond that, it was going to house important ART for everyone to enjoy. As some other posters have pointed out, the Presidio is not just a historical park now, it has lots of traffic and businesses to be a real historical park. I do believe most of the opposition is just contempt for those that have the real means to at least contribute something tangible to the City as opposed to just ideologic socialist babble.

  34. Posted by dub dub

    “[NYC museums do not have parking garages]”
    Preposterous. The moma and guggenheim (for example) have (discounted) validated parking at nearby garages, about 2 blocks away in both cases.
    And the subway is about 3.5 blocks away!
    “[we didn’t have cars in WWII, but my grandma drove me to a museum 20 years ago]”
    Did you ever ask your grandma (who presumably remembers(ed) the salad days before WWII) why she later bought a car?
    The good news is the 30’s appear to be back in vogue — you’ll have plenty of time to visit the museums on their free day every month. Have fun, and don’t forget to pay your property tax!

  35. Posted by viewlover

    fishscum,
    the presidio is huge, there are lots of spaces that are still pretty much intact if nature is really your thing. A building like this would not really impact anything, other than the overly sensitive sensibilities of a highly sensitive person like you I guess. How do you cope with the homeless, shit of the streets and all of the bad 70’s architecture throughout the City? I suspect that would really get you rowled up to the point of going insane if this modern, mostly underground, building spoils your enjoyment of the already historically violated park. Does’nt matter though, we arent’ getting it, go enjoy YODA, afterall that’s more important culturally than Andy Wharhol, Calder and countless others.

  36. Posted by Fishchum

    Viewlover – thanks for the assumptions regarding my character and sensibilities (not to mention misspelling my handle) – none of which would have been offended if this project had gone through. But this is simply the wrong design in the wrong place. That’s not even taking into account the traffic impact this project would have.
    As has been mentioned earlier in this thread, there are countless other options better suited for this museum. I don’t see why people fail to understand that.

  37. Posted by Fischchum

    I don’t see why everyone doesn’t do things my way.
    If you are going to give me something, it has to be on my terms.

  38. Posted by anon

    With all the idiotic comments here and elsewhere, there is no reason Fisher should allow his collection (best privately-held modern art collection on earth) to be shown in SF. If I were him I’d move it to Fresno out of spite, not to mention moving Gap heaquarters out of the city.

  39. Posted by EBGuy

    This will probably never happen, but the old I Magnin building in Oakland might be a good match for this use. … I will even take the old Sears building! Better yet, why not install his art in Gap stores that have been closed. Revitalize those malls and rotate the exhibits. Art for the masses (take that Getty villa). But seriously, as far as I can tell, Mission Bay IS one giant parking lot. Most of the commercial properties will not be using their garages/lots on the weekends when a museum would see the most traffic. Lets be a little creative…

  40. Posted by Foolsbane

    Rocco-
    the very first European settlement in what is now San Francisco was in the Presidio….1776…
    The Spanish fort was set up first and later that year the Mission was established…
    The Presidio is where San Francisco began.
    Also- keep in mind that the Presidio is by mandate supposed to be a profitable venture- a self sustaining National Park by 2012 (I think)…and if it is not that opens up other options- including privatization and possibly selling portions off…
    This museum would have helped the Presidio be self-sustaining a great deal…
    Can’t understand why a design that worked for everybody…er…well…most people- could not have been worked out…
    No seems mind that there is a self-storage place and “Sports Basement”…god forbid there be a world class museum too…
    …and just FYI…Muni stops at the bottom of the parade ground…

  41. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    dub dub – never thought to ask Grampa (he bought the cars) why. But would guess that the reason is the same as why I bought a car : it is the cheapest and most convenient way to get around … thanks to the trillions of dollars spent on infrastructure and made available essentially for free.
    If the government had similarly invested in a canal system, I’d own a boat instead.
    (Sneaky misquote BTW)

  42. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    It looks like a small group of wealthy and politically connected neighbors of The Presidio have once again looked out for their own perceived self-interest at the cost of the rest of The City.
    A new world-class museum would certainly have been nice, but a few Marina and Presidio Heights neighbors were worried about “the traffic” and “the parking” and ruined it for all of us.

  43. Posted by midcentfan

    I hope the Fishers and their advisors take a look at Mission Bay. That entire development, including UCSF expansion, owes a great deal to Mr. Fisher as I understand he was one of the early advocates.
    They could get a location a short walk from the Caltrain station which means their museum would be easily accessible via public transportation.
    I don’t know what blocks might become available, but it would be great if something fronting the water could be found. And they could leverage perhaps one of the UCSF parking lots.
    I would love to see an iconoic art museum in this area.

  44. Posted by Dan

    I’m OK with the collection being in the Presidio, but how about putting it in the Mission Bay complex being planned just south of the ballpark? That will have a huge parking garage for the Giants, and there was talk of there being an arts component to the complex. And it is just a short walk from GAP headquarters. The planned park across from the ballpark could include a sculpture garden.

  45. Posted by sang

    Very interesting… We should ask Paris to rip out that ugly A$$ pyramid at the heart of the Louver. Totally doesn’t work… Isn’t this basically the same argument? Why would we want to ruin a perfectly good parking lot with some grass to put a world class art collection in?
    The reason why most of you whiners have a home in SF is because we tore down old stuff and put new building in. Please don’t tell me you’re all living in some SF original building. Just because it’s new, that doesn’t mean it can’t mingle with the old. Look at Japan or many European cities.

  46. Posted by DZinerSF

    I’ve always contended that this should be placed near the other museums in town; MOMA, Jewish, et al. How about 5th and Mission? There is a huge city block in the heart of the city; it’s not like the Hearst Corporation is using the Chronicle Building for… well… ANYTHING, actually.

  47. Posted by sanfrantim

    Too bad. I love the Presidio. I would love it even more with a really cool museum. I don’t get those who think a museum is a bad thing for the Presidio.

  48. Posted by Wardo

    Glad to hear this is going away. Just one more glass & steel box to add to the uninspired glut of sameness going up around the city.

  49. Posted by viewlover

    I understand there are countless other places this could go, but the guy writing the check for building the museum and dontating hundreds of millions of dollars in art, wanted it at the presidio. I saw the last Wharhol work auctioned fetched over $12,000. This is a serious art collection that we now won’t be able to view.
    Most of the objections overlook the benefits. Eyesore, ego driven maniac (pot calling kettle black), parking, traffic, yada, yada, yada. Same argument with the Valencia and American Apparel situation. The store front remain empty but some posters still suggest that the City should provide for some assistance in getting the mom and pop shops that “we” want. Out of thin-air I suppose. Same thing here, the presidio needs to be self-sustaining but heaven forbid they try doing that without taking into account the type of design “we” are entitled to. But YODA is OK, the hypocrisy and blindness to the bigger picture is my biggest fruastration. Really, get a life, better yet, visit a museum and maybe some of you can start appreciating what is really at stake here.

  50. Posted by asad

    I hope he moves it to LA, at lease there people would appreciate it and not whine about traffic when someone else is paying for the building. So what the he would still own the art you can go see it can’t you ? It’s ok let SF live in the past the rest of the world is moving on.

  51. Posted by vox

    Now that it looks like the Exploratorium is moving to Piers 15 & 17, the Fisher project would be a great fit with the Palace of Fine Arts.
    The existing Exploratorium building is 100,000 sq. ft., exactly what Fisher wanted to build in the Presidio. It’s also already handling 500,000 visitors a year. There’s a lot of green space around the adjacent pond that could provide some outdoor sites for artwork.

  52. Posted by Sam

    The Presidio has an important history is SF, beginning in 1776. In the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, the military at the Presidio was instrumental in saving what was left of the city and its people. Countless hundreds-of-thousands of men and women have served there since its inception. The bowling alley was for the recreation of the troops. There is an empty commissary building in the lower reaches of the Presidio which could be suitable for a museum. Also, why don’t they have a real competition for a new museum, not just another big white cube with giant windows?

  53. Posted by Fishchum

    Vox – That’s a very sensible alternative, but I guess Mr. Fisher is adopting the “It’s my ball and I’m going home” atittude. is insistence on location tells me a large part of this project is ego.

  54. Posted by citicritter

    Its a museum of CONTEMPORARY art, why should it be forced into an existing neoclassical building (Palace of Fine Arts)?! Or why if its a new museum, must it be forced to look ‘fake old’? Its just typical short-sighted, self-serving SF NIMBY b.s. Even in Europe where there is a context with far far more serious historical architecture and parks, great modern museums by great architects are being built all over – Spain, Holland, Austria, Copenhagen, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Norway, Italy…Sf is just plain pathetic with its provincial “progressive” (really REgressive) mentality.

  55. Posted by anon

    citicritter – yes, museums are built all over in those cities, just like we’ve had new, modern museums built in THIS city recently (SFMOMA, de Young) in primo spots. Can you name any examples in other countries where one person got to decide EXACTLY where he wanted his museum built without any input from the government or people? I highly, highly doubt it.

  56. Posted by viewlover

    The design was altered once meaning that the approval to have it at the Presidio was alreay blessed at some point. There were objections to the design and they modified it. If there were objections about the location why the hell was it approved before? It turned into a battle of egos and nothing more.
    And the Presidio is not going to be public for long. The Federal Government is already weaning itself from it, thats why there is a private organiztion transitioning in maintaining it.
    Talk about egos. What about all of those egos that have caused us to lose a collection like this, and over what? Design? Some of you dare mention egos without even seeing the insanity of your own. For heavens sake, most of the people alive that object to the design or lacation will either be dead or not really in a position to care about the Presidio 5, 10, 25 or 50 years from now. However, during that time, alot of other changes will happen in this City, perhaps even having McDonals all over the Presidio in order to keep it funded. But the future inhabitants of San Francisco will just have to thank a bunch of selfish contrarians in 2009 for having to visit another City to view this collection. And yes, the collection will most likely outlive us all and it will be missed by many and for generations to come. What a shame, and a damned shame that some nut cases rule for the masses, and don’t have the capacity to see beyond their position which amounts to a cheap debate, and the very real consequences of their actions forever.
    And anon, you probably have never heard of the DeMenile Museum in Houston by built by Dominique DeMenile. She had a whole neighborhood bought out, had all of the houses painted the same as the museum, talk about ego and money, and it is WORLD CLASS. The people and the City supported it because they had the sense to appreciate it for what it would and has contributed and didn’t trip over their own shadow.

  57. Posted by anon

    viewlover – citicritter was talking about urban cities, not some monstrous Texan low density hellhole. If we’re going to take cues from Houston as to how to design our city, I might as well move now.
    And for those that keep talking about the Presidio needing to be self-sustaining soon, check out this article from 2005:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/19/MNGKBDB3KI1.DTL&type=printable
    The Presidio met the 2013 goal in 2005. There aren’t going to be McDonald’s needed any time soon.

  58. Posted by Geo

    If they put the museum outside of SF, I firmly believe this will be a loss for the city AND the Presidio.
    Even the more “modified” proposal was completely out of synch with the rest of the Main Post.
    And I would wager you were one of the majority who thought the Pyramid Building was out of synch and a disaster when it first went up. Alas, people get too blinded by their own bias and enraptured with their own subjective POVs to be willing to accept a different one — because your aesthetic is the “right” one, which in the end is simply such a shame.
    “No, the Main Post isn’t Gettysburg. But it’s the closest thing to Gettysburg you can find on the West Coast”
    Chuckle, there is a lot of historical military acreage throughout the US; that does not mean it has any historical value simply because some soldiers slept here and played golf… Gettysburg??? Be serious.
    ..do what he wants if he decides to actually, you know, BUY THE LAND that he wants to build his museum.
    So let’s see — you give me all your art, build the building, and $10 million to make the parade ground nicer, but I still want veto rights over everything…no you have no say in where it goes or how it is displayed… Yeah, that seems a fair and reasonable trade for everyone involved. Unbelievable.
    Oh, I forgot, since I actually own a car, and have used it on occasion, there is no way I can truly “value” this unique space, so I should just shut up, go away, and quietly pay my taxes…

  59. Posted by viewlover

    anon, you sanctimonious moron, it may be a hellhole by YOUR definition, and irrelevant by your snobish standards, but it still has more quality art in both musuems and public spaces than you will ever see in San Francisco thanks to selfish people like you. Houston, while not my favorite City, does have plenty benefactors that support the arts, rich a-holes probably, but at least it does not come off the backs of the taxpayers, something this City and State should take a hard look at given our financial crisis.
    And yes, like mine, your point of view will be meaningless to the future residents of this City but the loss will be forever. And while art and culture may be unimportant to you, they ultimately define a City.

  60. Posted by anon

    viewlover – my point was that citicritter brought up urban cities in other countries, not giant low density sprawling areas. It’s much easier to find land in a place like Houston. I’m sure that we could probably fairly easily build a museum for Fisher that no one would care about the location for in San Jose. Houston has more land area than NYC!! It’s not like land is precious or in tight supply there.

  61. Posted by viewlover

    I.M Pei, Philip Johnson and many other incredible architects have found Houston to be a welcoming place for progressive design and architecture. Educate yourself a little bit before you belittle. We get the Infinity by Architectonica and pee in our pants. Gee.

  62. Posted by viewlover

    Granted, but the point was that no other place allows for one individual to have a say in what gets built and where. The DeMenile was not built in the outskirts, it was built in the inner city neighborhood of Montrose, which used to be the gay heart of Houston, and it caused great disruption.
    The museum idict was to be small on the outside but large on the inside, talk about eccentric, and all of the surrounding houses for blocks had to be the same. Talk about an ego. Everyone was moved out.
    But in the end, people still supported it because of it’s content, it was the largest collection of Magritte (not sure of spelling anymore) and it is wonderful. I lived in Houston at the time and was pretty pissed off that some streets were shut-down and made dead ends because of this and it disrupted my biking path. Still my objections were small in comparison to what was created there.
    The fight here is not about the location, even though it is conveneintly being used now but wasn’t when the project was initiated, it is about the design of the building and about not letting an old rich, and by some accounts horrible individual, get his way by another equally tempermental idiot, but yet the City stands to lose. Notice how she is backing down now and stating she wishes it could have been handled better?
    That’s the bottom line and the perspective I wish the City could develop for it’s own sake.

  63. Posted by anon

    I’d bet 100 dollars to donuts that SF still lands the museum, just in a different spot. In this fight, the opposition clearly had the upper hand because of all the different agencies that Fisher had to deal with – AND – the fact that he never presented what the alternative would be. Had he said, “Presidio or LA,” things might have been different. I might have completely supported it
    (I didn’t particularly care, as is, I was always only disagreeing with the post saying that museums are built all the time in other cities without any problem by famous architects – we’ve had two built here in the last 5 years by famous architects, and anyone who thinks that, say, the pyramid added to the Louvre was done without controversy clearly doesn’t have their facts straight).

  64. Posted by vox

    @citicritter
    “Its a museum of CONTEMPORARY art, why should it be forced into an existing neoclassical building (Palace of Fine Arts)?! Or why if its a new museum, must it be forced to look ‘fake old’?”
    Since when does a museum’s architecture have to adopt the vernacular of its art? That rarely happens. Obviously Maybach was off his meds when he drew up a Greco-Roman building to house Impressionist paintings in 1915. Oh noes!
    More recently, the renovations of the Tate Modern in London and the Jewish Contemporary in SF are very good, very successful examples of repurposing an old building.
    In this case, putting Fisher’s collection in the art gallery at the PoFA would just be using this space as it was intended to be used in the first place.

  65. Posted by viewlover

    I hope you win the bet.

  66. Posted by chris in sf

    I still think the logical–and visionary–solution would be for the Fishers to locate land in Mission Bay or somewhere else on the City’s eastern waterfront for the museum, and help shape how those neighborhoods will figure into the future of the City. Think Sydney Opera House, for SF, 21st century style.

  67. Posted by Alexander

    I think displaying some nice Alexander Calder lithographs and mobiles would be really nice. Warhol too. There are a lot of museums and galleries in San Francisco, but they seem to concentrate on Picasso, Chagall, and Miro. Calder needs a big spot!

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