50 for 50

2010s Collection Donors Women

Jack Guthman describes his and his wife Sandra's gift honoring the MCA's 50th anniversary.

We have built a remarkable collection in a short period of time. Our own gift was, it was sort of in a way very simple. I was sitting around at a meeting maybe three years ago now and the thought was on the issue was, how do we celebrate the 50th, what are we trying to do? And obviously someone said, "We need to use this as a way to build the collection."

So I was thinking about it a little bit and I called Michael Darling a couple days later and I said, "You know, Michael, you're gonna need somebody to actually kick that off and you're gonna need some lead gift and it's 50 years, what if Sandy and I gave you 50 works of art?" He didn't say no. And somebody asked me, "Did he then negotiate with you as to which pieces?" No, he's much too smart to do that. And I think pretty much everything that we have given him.

It's 33 gifts that are outright and they're already the property of the museum and 17 are promised gifts. And it wasn't intended necessarily to be women. When I sat down and started looking at the list that I was drawing up and quizzing myself as to what mix there should be and I did this just sitting in my living room or in my office at home. And all of a sudden it came to me that almost all these people are women. And I thought to myself, "Wouldn’t it be an interesting statement to make it all women?" And we have a lot of women artists. And people ask me why, because the women artists today photography was a realm that they were more accepted in and they were speaking to social issues. And what we collect is about issues, some of them societal issues, political issues. And we got a lot of women artists that were doing that.

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