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Arts & Culture

Linda Pace Foundation Executive Director on Going Public

Photo: Andrew Watson, License: N/A

Andrew Watson


For various reasons, the Linda Pace Foundation has historically been very low-profile. However, new executive director Maura Reilly seeks to change all that, starting this year. Prior to landing at LPF, Reilly was senior curator at the American Federation of Arts and Location One. She also acted as founding Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she organized the acclaimed Global Feminisms exhibition in 2007.

So she has the chutzpah and the cred to make some major moves here, such as transforming LPF’s former offices (located in Southtown just off of the lovely, also LPF-founded, Chris Park) into a public exhibition space come April. Even that big change is merely a placeholder for an even grander undertaking: a brand-new Linda Pace Foundation museum—an enormous project that should take approximately four or five years to open.

The Current spoke to Reilly at the LPF’s new offices, on the sixth floor at the Camp Street Lofts.

How do you see the LPF as part of San Antonio, as opposed to part of the sort of global, art world network of institutions?

The Foundation has been primarily San Antonio-centric, with grant giving endeavors elsewhere. But it’s very rooted in the San Antonio community, because Linda was so rooted in San Antonio. And the opening of the [forthcoming] new museum is exciting, too; it connects the San Antonio community and the larger art world. It will be the first museum in San Antonio that’s dedicated completely to contemporary art. It will stand alongside the McNay and San Antonio Museum of Art in that way. And it will be built by a “starchitect,” you know.

How much can the Current reveal about that architect?

We can’t reveal the name yet. This is kind of a fun opportunity to tease (laughs). But I’m working with Fitz & Co. in New York, the PR firm, and they are poised to release a press release.

[Ed. Note: Not to spoil Reilly’s fun, but we’d be remiss not to point out that in 2009, LPF’s then-executive director Rick Moore and prominent British architect David Adjaye released preliminary design plans for the museum. So, there’s that.]

It’s a big project. You’ve been through the logistical process of building new structures before—how does that affect your thinking about the museum project?

Yeah, I’ve worked on building projects like the conceptualization of [the Sackler Wing] at the Brooklyn Museum. I’ve worked with that kind of architectural process. Not to the minute degree that I am here. We’ve been in the concept phase ever since I arrived ... Right now we are still tweaking. What look do we want? What size? What scale? What style? Once that’s all finalized, we can release the [architect’s] name.

One of the things Linda wanted as well [was to] bring in shows that other institutions locally might not be able to afford. Because we can. We can bring in someone with a huge international name. Linda also wanted to help introduce San Antonio to an international architectural aesthetic [she saw] in her travels, seeing all these different architectural sensibilities—it’s a gift and part of her magnanimous nature. With the “starchitect” we’re talking to, this will be able to happen. It’s a really cool thing.

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