Katie and Drew Gibson, longtime supporters of SJMA, believe that culture is a big part of what makes a city important and meaningful. From the very early days of the Museum, when it occupied the old library, they dreamed of an art museum with a collection of national prominence and gutsy distinction. The Gibsons have helped the Museum realize its ambitions for some thirty years. A developer of commercial properties in San Jose, Drew was a driving force, alongside Averill Mix, in the capital campaign and the construction of the Museum’s impressive new wing in 1991. He and Katie made a gift to name the Gibson Family Gallery and, to date, have generously donated seventy-five works of art from their extraordinary private collection to SJMA, including visitor favorites such as Mildred Howard’s monumental Abode: Sanctuary for the Familia(r) (1994), known affectionately as “the bottle house.”
This exhibition celebrates the Gibson’s legacy and their belief in sharing with the public the exhilarating experience that artworks bring. Highlights include works by California artists Robert Arneson, Nathan Oliveira, Raymond Saunders, and Richard Shaw, among others. Also on view will be a powerful sculpture by New Orleans artist Willie Birch, made in response to the harrowing 1992 “Rodney King” riots in Los Angeles; Maria Porges’s The virtues and vices of history, from the series “History Lessons” (1998); Mineko Grimmer’s Mahogany Music Box (n.d.); and the comical and subversive work of Donald Roller Wilson. In 2014, the Museum will present a separate exhibition of the Gibson’s gift of over thirty photographs by David Levinthal, an exemplary archive assembled with the artist that rivals the holdings of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The Gibsons built their collection adventurously and independently, with a deep passion for art and a belief in supporting the work of living artists. These artworks were part of their daily lives and daily pleasures—and will now be enjoyed by Museum visitors for years to come.