Friday, Apr 04, 2014 - 11:35 am

San Diego, CA- At the 2014 Selection Dinner on Wednesday, March 26, MCASD's upper-level Member donor groups--the International and Contemporary Collectors--voted to purchase new works by five artists for the Museum's collection:

  • Ten self-portraits by Zackary Drucker, from two series: Distance is where the heart is, home is where you hang your heart, #1, #5, #13, #20 (in collaboration with Amos Mac)2010-2011and Relationship, #1, #10, #23, #24, #30, #31 (in collaboration with Rhys Ernst)2014
  • Ramiro Gomez's reconsidered Pop icon, No Splash (after David Hockney's A Bigger Splash, 1967), 2013
  • A wall-mounted ceramic sculpture by Liz Larnerix (caesura), 2014
  • An atmospheric abstraction by Emil LukasWinter ring, Yellow flap, 2013-2014
  • Trevor Paglen's sublime landscape photograph, Untitled (Reaper Drone), 2013

Typically the Collectors purchase anywhere from one to three works at the Annual Selection Dinner. This year Members were able to fund the purchase of two additional works, thanks to a significant increase in membership in both the Contemporary Collectors and International Collectors groups.

These acquisitions are on view at MCASD La Jolla through April 30 as part of the exhibition Prospect 2014.

"These objects reflect a dynamic range of art practices. The process-oriented abstractions of Larner and Lukas are a counterpoint to the potent imagery of Drucker, Gomez, and Paglen," said Hugh Davies, the David C. Copley Director and CEO.

About the Collectors

For the past 29 years, MCASD's premier membership groups-the Contemporary Collectors and the International Collectors-have provided significant funds for the acquisition of new works for the Museum's collection through their annual dues.

Each year, MCASD's curatorial staff organizes an exhibition of works to be considered for acquisition by the Collectors, and these works are then selected by ballot at the Annual Selection Dinner, which this year was generously underwritten by Northern Trust. Members reviewed works by artists Zackary Drucker, Ramiro Gomez, Liz Larner, Emil Lukas, and Trevor Paglen.

The support of the International and Contemporary Collectors has allowed MCASD's curators to discover new artists, enrich the MCASD collection, and build an engaged and informed community of collectors in San Diego. Thanks to the Collectors' support, MCASD has added 114 works to its collection valued at almost $13 million. 
International Collectors is co-chaired by Joan & Irwin Jacobs, Mary Anne and Irwin Pfister. Contemporary Collectors is co-chaired by David Guss and Susanne Lodl.

In addition to the Annual Selection Dinner, International and Contemporary Collector Members receive VIP access to all Museum exhibitions, national and international travel programs, curatorial-led tours, lectures, literary, film, education, and performing art programs. For more information about joining the group, please contact Edie Nehls at or 858 454 3541 x179.

About the Artists

Zackary Drucker makes photographs, films, and performances that question and alter contemporary culture's understanding of gender and sexuality as fixed or binary categories. Using conceptions of documentation, exhibitionism, and voyeurism, her work disrupts normative codes in relation to the transgender body. Drucker's process draws on feminist and queer theoretical discourse to explore the idea that identity is a construction, but also something formed relationally, with others.

Drucker often works collaboratively, and for this series, she traveled with photographer Amos Mac to her childhood home in Syracuse, New York. Working with the tools at hand (her mother's wardrobe, for example), Drucker and Mac staged photographs that evoke a fashion spread, even as their emotional tenor and some formal elements recall the work of Nan Goldin or Catherine Opie. The artistic exchange between Drucker, a trans woman, and Mac, a trans man, evidences a rare vulnerability and trust between photographer and subject. The resulting photographs present a host of intersecting ideas about femininity, objectification, family, class, wealth, power, privacy, safety, and the notion of home.

Drucker's work was included in Made in L.A. 2012, the first Los Angeles biennial at the Hammer Museum, and is featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Ramiro Gomez makes paintings and collages that consider intersections of wealth, class, labor, and immigration. Gomez's work grew from his experience as a full-time, live-in nanny for a family in Beverly Hills, where he observed the complex dynamics between his fellow domestic workers and their employers.  In his free time, Gomez began experimenting with the pages of design magazines such as Dwell and Architectural Digest, painting on them figures of the predominantly Hispanic workers who would care for these pristine environments.

In No Splash, Gomez appropriates David Hockney's iconic 1967 painting A Bigger Splash, replicating the earlier painting's scale and basic composition, but altering other key elements. He replaces Hockney's splash (and its implied diver) with a pool cleaner and a housekeeper-subtle but powerful interruptions in this sunny Southern California scene.  Here, as with his earlier works, Gomez inserts into settings of luxury the laborers who are charged with maintaining images of effortless perfection, making visible an often invisible-and often immigrant-workforce.

In 2013, Gomez had a solo exhibition at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, and held a residency at the CSUF Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, CA.

Liz Larner's work questions the traditional attributes of sculpture, such as the relationships between volume, mass, color, and form in space. Employing a wide array of media-from clay to steel, gauze to leather, and wood to car paint-Larner draws on the materials' characteristics to disrupt the viewer's perceptual relationship to the object in space, often situating the viewer's entire body in a direct relationship to the form.

Larner's new wall-mounted ceramics concentrate space. In ix (caesura), a lozenge-shaped relief becomes a miniature map, both compressed and suggestive of more. The earthen material and disrupted surface evoke geological references, even as the title suggests the structure of language (caesura is a break in a line of poetry). The irregular, imperfect surface contrasts with the almost decorative swirl of pigments which are suspended in an epoxy pool. Epic and intimate, Larner's work seems to map both the world and the body.

Larner has shown her work in exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999, and was included in the 1989 and 2006 Whitney Biennials. Her mid- career retrospective appeared at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2001.

American artist Emil Lukas engages a wide array of everyday materials-string, bottle caps, organic residue, bubble wrap, and even common living organisms-to create works that vacillate between ambiguous abstraction and objects that yield clues as to the artist's process. His work capitalizes on the inherent characteristics of a material, yet he employs these to unexpected ends. In a recent series, Lukas placed live larvae onto a wet, primed canvas, elaborated with pools of ink. The animals dragged the dark ink across the surface, creating delicate and dynamic black lines that record their own mark making.

From a distance, Winter ring, Yellow flap, seems to glow like an illuminated haze. Yet, careful scrutiny reveals the artist's direct method: the atmospheric effect is created by successive layers of thin, colored thread tethered to the object's frame. Lukas's accumulative process achieves its impact through the tenets of color theory as it addresses opacity, density and the reflection of light. The object, which at first blush appears illusionistic, is in fact a literal and knowable form.

Lukas had a 2005 solo exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT. His work is held in the Panza Collection, Italy, and the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AR.

An artist who also holds a Ph.D. in Geography, Trevor Paglen's work considers the convergence of the visible and the invisible, particularly as these categories relate to government secrecy. Conducting meticulous research in preparation for projects, he has photographed CIA and NSA headquarters, secret military bases, spy satellites, and drones. With such images, Paglen reveals a glimpse of the American intelligence system, which is normally all but hidden from view.

At a glance, Paglen's Untitled (Reaper Drone) shows nothing more than a sublime expanse of sky, full of atmospheric effects that recall paintings by J.M.W. Turner or Mark Rothko. Careful scrutiny, however, allows the detection of a dark speck just visible at the edges of the pink clouds- the unmanned aerial vehicle, the drone, of the work's title. To photograph the elusive aircraft, Paglen stealthily camped at a Nevada air force base and woke at dawn when the drones perform test flights, using a camera equipped with a sports photography lens designed to capture motion. If his photograph points to the objective presence of the drone, Paglen nonetheless frames it at the outer edges of the picture, and the outer limits of our vision, suggesting that his project is as much about what cannot be seen or fully understood.

Paglen's work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Tate Modern, The Walker Arts Center, SFMOMA, the 2008 Taipei Biennial, the 2009 Istanbul Biennial, and the 2012 Liverpool Biennial. The author of five books, Paglen has received a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship and a Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award (SECA) from SFMOMA.

# # #


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD. 

Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.