Art Collecting

Exclusive: Bay Area couple donates $1 million to new San Francisco Institute of Contemporary Art | Pro Club Bd

Pamela and David Hornik with their dog Teddy in front of a portrait by Jiab Prachakul. Photo: Annie Barnett Photography

The Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco announced Monday, July 18, an unreserved donation of $1 million to the new museum from venture capitalist David Hornik and philanthropist Pamela Hornik with donors including the founders of the Minnesota Street Project Foundation, Andy Rappaport and Deborah Rappaport, as well as Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kaitlyn Krieger.

Since announcing its founding in September 2021, the non-collecting museum has been recognized as a rare arts organization that has managed to attract eminent philanthropists from the Bay Area’s venture capital and technology worlds. Other founding members of ICA San Francisco are startup investors and collectors Wayee Chu and Ethan Beard; Rebecca, Founder of Rsquared Communication Reeve Henderson and Cal Henderson, co-founder of Slack Technologies; art philanthropist Susan Swig; and dr Martha Muña and Kanyi Maqubela, founders of Kindred Ventures.

“The money will be used for all things necessary to start a museum,” said Alison Gass, director of ICA San Francisco. “When you start an institution, you don’t always know where all the costs are going to be, especially with construction work and ambitious exhibition opening schedules. David and Pamela were incredible founding members who have already committed to taking on the position of curator Christine Koppes for three years; Now that unlimited gift comes when we need it most.”

The museum is slated to open in the fall with exhibitions by artists Jeffrey Gibson, Elizabeth Hernández and Ryan Whelan, and guest curators Tahirah Rasheed and Autumn Breon.

The exterior of the under construction Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco on Minnesota Street. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2021

“It’s not often that the opportunity comes along to be part of the founding, the beginning of a museum,” Pamela Hornik told The Chronicle. “This opportunity and my connection with Ali, dating back to our time together when she was a curator there, was compelling.”

“Even though it’s cliche, when you’re a VC, I think there’s an opportunity here for innovation, reinvention, and rethinking what an exciting museum is,” said David Hornik. “Or to ask, ‘What is a museum anyway?’ Everyone started to rethink that after 2020.”

David Hornik is a founding partner of Lobby in San Francisco capital city. Pamela Hornik serves on the Director’s Advisory Board of the Cantor Arts Center and the Management Committee of the Anderson Collection, both at Stanford University, and is Trustee of the Pacific Film Archive of the Berkeley Art Museum. Over the past decade, the Palo Alto couple have become known in the Bay Area museum and gallery scene as collectors with a particular interest in supporting the work of emerging artists from diverse backgrounds.

Berkeley artist Lava Thomas said she was not surprised by news of the gift to ICA San Francisco.

Pamela and David Hornik with their dog Teddy. Photo: Annie Barnett Photography

“The Horniks are an important part of the Bay Area’s arts ecosystem and have been incredibly supportive, not only for my own career, but for many artists, particularly from marginalized communities and artists of color,” said Thomas, who also said their support goes goes beyond collecting and includes insuring exhibitions and catalogues, as well as lending and donating works to institutions. The Horniks recently supported the exhibition The Artist’s Eye: Tammy Rae Carland, David Huffman, Lava Thomas, John Zurier at BAMPFA, which Thomas co-curated.

The Horniks currently estimate that “at least half a dozen” works from their collection are on loan to institutions across the United States. Artists represented include Amir H. Fallah, LJ Roberts, Carrie Mae Weems, Wesaam Al-Badry, Mickalene Thomas, Jordan Casteel, John Sonsini and Joel Daniel Phillips. Her fundraising history includes supporting exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art San Jose (which is not affiliated with ICA SF), the Palo Alto Art Center, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. In September, the Horniks will also be the sole sponsors of “Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust,” featuring portraits by photographer Gay Block at the Jack Fischer Gallery.

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