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MOCA Partners with the Sam Francis Foundation

Sam Francis Foundation Board of Trustees: Beth Ann Whittaker, Debra Burchett-Lere, Nancy Mozur, John Seed, Louise Steinman, Jenkins Shannon, 2020, Courtesy of Sam Francis Foundation, California.

MOCA Partners with the Sam Francis Foundation to Support Artist Participation in Public Programs

Feb 18 2021

MOCA is pleased to announce that the Sam Francis Foundation has awarded the Museum a grant to support innovative public programs delivered in collaboration with artists working locally and globally. Connecting creative visionaries and our wide audience, the funding will provide essential honoraria for key contributors at the core of artist-centered offerings, from lectures and panels to screenings and studio visits. With immediate impact, last fall the Foundation sponsored the participation of Nevine Mahmoud in the first virtual iteration of our “Artists on Artists” series—a two-part event where an L.A.-based artist creates dialogue between their own work and a selection from MOCA’s permanent collection, situated in the public realm. Mahmoud’s contextual comparison to Scott Burton’s Memorial Bench, 1990 (MOCA Grand Avenue entrance) was followed by a showing of Amiri Baraka’s first short film, Black Spring, organized by Harmony Holiday.

At this challenging time, the Museum is especially grateful for the Foundation’s recognition of the value of open dialogue and interaction with artists to the vitality of Los Angeles while the galleries remain closed due to COVID-19.

An internationally known painter and printmaker, Sam Francis (1923-94) has been part of the MOCA story since the early days, having served as a Founding Trustee beginning in 1980. A brilliant colorist associated with postwar California abstraction, the artist gifted to MOCA ten major works created over four decades (1951-1992), dating from a 1950s "white painting" through the Blue Balls, Sail and Grid series of the '60s and '70s as well as signature late accomplishments. Tracing his long career, MOCA presented the retrospective Sam Francis: Paintings, 1947-1990 in 1999, showcasing over 80 canvases and works on paper that define his art historical imprint. Notably, Francis was responsible for bringing architect Arata Isozaki—who subsequently designed MOCA’s flagship building on Grand Avenue—to the attention of the Board. With this timely investment, the Foundation is extending his legacy in Los Angeles and at the Museum, as an important collection artist, community leader, donor, and friend.

About the Sam Francis Foundation

Building on Sam Francis’s creative legacy, the Sam Francis Foundation is dedicated to the transformative power of art as a force for change. As its stated mission, the Foundation aims to further a greater understanding of Sam Francis’s art and ideas through a broad array of programs and activities designed to educate, inform, and catalyze new thinking about the importance of creativity in society.

In addition to the Foundation’s primary focus in the compilation and ongoing development of the Sam Francis: Online Catalogues Raisonné Project, its activities include a variety of far-reaching initiatives addressing the cultural challenges of the day. Francis believed artists have an important role in society and should participate in a larger dialogue with the world. The Foundation embraces his philosophies as evident through programs it supports including museum exhibitions and publications of Francis’s oeuvre (and his expansive international artistic circle of colleagues), arts education and grant-giving programming to other nonprofit arts organizations and universities for direct artistic support, as well as organizations focused on the environment, health and socially-oriented issues.