Judith Kirshner describes the generosity of early board members, including founding members Edwin and Lindy Bergman.
For me, one of the pleasures of being involved with the Museum of Contemporary Art in the late seventies and eighties were the friendships that were built here in the city because of the commitment to the city’s culture that a couple like Ed and Lindy Bergman had. They lived in Hyde Park. My family and I lived in Hyde Park as well, and they were extremely gracious to us as newcomers to the city, and equally gracious to all the institutions that they supported. And that is one of the very unique characteristics of Chicago patronage. The fact that Ed and Lindy were part of the original group here at the Museum of Contemporary Art—gave a large part of their collection to the Art Institute as well. At the same time that they supported the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, and that Ed was the president of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago, and then gave the collection to the Art Institute provided a very forceful model of civic patronage that went from being a private collector to a civic patron. And I’ve seen that follow over and over again. Lew Manilow—who established Manilow Sculpture Park in the southern part of the city with pieces by Mark di Suvero, Bruce Nauman, Tony Tasset, Martin Puryear—was active there, was active at the Art Institute, and one of the founders of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
I saw it with Donna and Howard Stone, this ability to certainly people are more involved in one institution than the other, but there is a larger notion of citizenship that characterizes those early supporters of the museums, both in terms of their private collection and in terms of their larger engagement with the social, political, and economic quality of our city.