Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Photographic Ground Zero : Pier 24
I was surprised I didn't know about this already. Sunday the SF Chronicle had a story written by Sam Whiting telling the tale of Andy Pilara. It starts like this:
In the small world of photography collecting, investment banker Andy Pilara was a complete unknown until the day he walked into San Francisco's Fraenkel Gallery and walked back out with the first picture he had ever bought, a Diane Arbus.
Seven years later, Pilara, 68, has built a collection of 20th century American documentary photography so vast and comprehensive that he had to rent a vacant warehouse on the Embarcadero just to display it.
A quick search revealed that Whitney Johnson at The New Yorker had blogged about it back in March. Where was I? A visit to the Pier 24 website states their intentions so eloquently I had to catch my breath:
Pier 24 has been designed to provide an environment that is open to the public in which photographic ideas, dialogue, and critical thought can be cultivated and shared with the community. Individuals, photographers, educators, collectors, and curators will be invited to explore a venue that is devoted primarily to photography of the 20th and 21st century. Our aspiration is to provide the opportunity to experience, study, and quietly contemplate the permanent photographic collection of the Pilara Foundation.
This gesture and statement seemed so generous, enlightened and so very San Francisco: a guy discovers the power of photography, has the means to collect it, and wants to share it with the world. There is nothing more to say.
Read the Chronicle story HERE. Visit Pier24.org HERE.
Photograph by Russell Yip/ San Francisco Chronicle