on 07 Jul 2015 4:15 PM
  • Press
Works featured in Prospect 2015 at MCASD La Jolla and voted on at Annual Selection Dinner

San Diego, CA—At the 2015 Selection Dinner on Wednesday, May 20, MCASD’s International Collectors and Contemporary Collectors voted to purchase new works by three artists for the Museum's Permanent Collection:

  • James Drake’s massive drawing installation: The Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash)- Chapter 3, 2014
  • Nicole Eisenman’s recent painting: Under the Table 2
  • Kelly Mason’s lightbox of Francis Bacon’s studio, titled: Grey Skies Southwest

These acquisitions are on view at MCASD La Jolla through September 6 as part of the exhibition Prospect 2015, which features all six of the works that were under consideration, as chosen by the Museum’s Curatorial staff. 

The Annual Selection Dinner was well-attended with 113 Collectors present for the voting process, the Museum is tremendously grateful to these donors for their vital support of this mission critical endeavor, the collection of contemporary works of art.

About the Collectors

For the past 30 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 was generously underwritten by Northern Trust and the San Diego County BMW Centers. This year, Members reviewed works by John Coplans, Thomas Demand, James Drake, Nicole Eisenman, T. Kelly Mason, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Thanks to the Collectors’ support, MCASD has added 110 works to its collection—works that were collectively purchased for approximately $3.6 million and that today are valued at approximately $12.8 million.

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.
International Collectors is co-chaired by Joan & Irwin Jacobs and Maryanne & Irwin Pfister. Contemporary Collectors is co-chaired by Michael & Lisette Farrell and David Guss & Susanne Lodl.

In addition to the Annual Selection Dinner, International and Contemporary Collector Members receive VIP access to all Museum exhibitions, art tours, lectures, literary, film, education, VIP passes to select International Art Fairs, and travel with the David C. Copley Director & CEO and Deputy Director, Arts and Programs to destinations nationally and internationally. . For more information about joining the group, please contact Edie Nehls at enehls@mcasd.org or 858 454 3541 x179.

About the Artists

In his work, James Drake references physics and poetry, as well as current events and cultural history. The artist has used a range of media from video projection to welded sculpture; yet, in 2012, he committed himself to drawing every day. His goal was not to make a certain series, but to create at a primal, intuitive level. Rendered in pencil, ink, or charcoal, often with collage and stencil work, the imagery starts on standard-sized sheet, often spilling across multiple pages, creating a composition that is simultaneously informal and ordered. Culled from his personal reservoir of images—wild animals, scientific formulas, portraits of friends and family, architectural details, and art historical figures —the drawings reflect the collision between human choice and animal instinct. In this chapter, these themes of vanitas are suggested by the male figure and prone skeleton. Contemporary and traditional both, the drawings serve as an echo of the artist’s studio—the artist’s mind—played out on epic scale.

For nearly twenty-five years, Nicole Eisenman has painted works that mix art history with concerns of contemporary life and a penetrating investigation into human nature. Her portraits and group scenes positively burst with humor, anger, and tenderness in precise balance, making her one of the leading figurative artists working today. One prominent motif in Eisenman’s work is that of the drinking scene, as seen here in Under the Table 2. Upon first glance, her characters’ self-indulgence appears comedic, but soon evokes a picture of anguish prompted by the status quo. Twenty years’ worth of Eisenman’s work can be seen in the current exhibition on view at MCASD La Jolla Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993-2013.

From modest still lifes to large performances, T. Kelly Mason’s work considers how we occupy and aestheticize space—how we shape and define the world around us. Mason’s newest series investigates the notion of the artist’s studio as a personal, perhaps mythological, site of inspiration and creation. Working from photographs depicting the workspaces of several noted modern painters—Francis Bacon, Lucio Fontana, and Giorgio Morandi—Mason renders the historic views as large-scale light boxes. He translates these authentic sites into back-lit images, fabricated from brightly colored lighting gels. Mason’s compositions recall luminous outdoor advertising and the smooth colors of classic cell animation, as much as they suggest painting. In his irreverent tributes, Mason customizes hallowed symbols of creative ferment to reflect his own art-making and contemporary aesthetic. This triptych depicts the modest Reece Mews studio where Bacon worked for thirty years. Following his death, the space was systematically dismantled, its contents inventoried and relocated from London to Dublin. The move was overseen by archeologists who catalogued more than 7,000 items, ranging from vinyl records and torn books to paint dust and slashed canvases.

For interviews with an MCASD Curator, or images of the selected artworks, please contact Communications Associate Patricia B. Dwyer or Communications and Marketing Manager Leah Straub.


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. Dr. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO of MCASD.

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


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Leah Straub, Communications & Marketing Manager, 858 454 3541 x119, lstraub@mcasd.org

Patricia B. Dwyer, Communcations Associate, 858 454 3541 x116, pdwyer@mcasd.org