Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University Opens to the Public

Contact: Jill Osaka, Public Relations Manager, 650-725-4657.

STANFORD, CA February 1999 - The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, formerly the Stanford University Museum of Art, opened its doors in January following a major renovation and construction project. The Museum had been closed since 1989, when it sustained heavy damage from the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford welcomed close to 17,000 people to its newly enhanced and expanded galleries and gardens at a series of opening events in January, 1999.

Thomas K. Seligman, the John and Jill Freidenrich Director says, "The Cantor Arts Center has great potential for growth. I believe we can become an important resource for the Bay Area, particularly the Peninsula. We are expanding the educational mission set forth by the museum's and the University's founders beyond that of a traditional 19th century institution. As a university museum, we draw from the scholarship and creative work of our faculty and students and extend that to the public. The Center is a place where diverse collections and exhibitions can be enjoyed, where important issues can be explored and debated, and where human creativity can flourish and be appreciated."

Designed by Polshek & Partners, Architects, of New York, the Center includes the splendidly renovated historic museum building, a new wing, and garden areas. The $36.8 million project included full seismic upgrade of the 78,000 square foot historic museum building, addition of a new wing measuring 42,000 square feet, enhancement of the Rodin Sculpture Garden, and addition of new garden areas for contemporary sculpture. The new wing adds 12,000 square feet of exhibition space for special exhibitions and installations of the Center's collection of modern and contemporary art, and a sculpture terrace, auditorium, bookshop and cafe. Madeleine Corson Design, San Francisco, designed building signage and the Center's graphic identity.


The Center opened with its twenty-seven galleries fully installed, nineteen devoted to works from its expansive collections of arts of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and recent acquisitions and special loans of modern and contemporary art. Exhibition designer Mindy Cameron worked closely with the curatorial staff in the design and planning of the collections installation. Each year, the Center's special exhibition schedule offers four major shows in a large exhibition gallery in the new wing, and several mid-size and smaller shows. Opening exhibitions included Picasso: Graphic Magician, Prints from the Norton Simon Museum; Eadweard Muybridge: Before and After Science, Photographs from Stanford Collections; and Three Models: The Design Competition, featuring architectural models by finalists for the Center's reconstruction; and several installations of long-term loans.

In April 1999, the first exhibition of significant scope organized by the Cantor Arts Center premieres in the Pigott Family Gallery. Pacific Arcadia: Images of California 1600 - 1915 studies the imagery of the California dream and investigates the ways in which the State was promoted to outsiders and idealized by those who had a stake in its development. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and of compelling intellectual and visual content, Pacific Arcadia is a template for the exhibitions the Center will organize. The exhibition, which will travel to the San Diego Museum of Art and the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, is accompanied by a fully illustrated book published by the Center. Pacific Arcadia and its tour are made possible by Ford Motor Company.

Mission and Collections of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts

The expansion and revitalization of the Museum as the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts marks an unprecedented revival of the arts at Stanford. With a mission aimed at education through the arts, the Center's programs focus on academic research, care, interpretation and installation of the permanent collection, organization of traveling exhibitions, an active publications program, teacher training and school programs, lectures, films, performances, and other arts and education activities. In addition to organizing exhibitions in-house, some of which will travel, the Center will now bring important mid-sized traveling shows to Stanford, such as Arthur Wesley Dow and the Arts & Crafts Aesthetic in the summer.

The Center is named for noted philanthropists Iris Cantor and the late B. Gerald Cantor, who contributed over $10 million to the rebuilding project. The Cantors have been long-time supporters of the Stanford Museum, and over the last twenty years have donated more than 180 works by Auguste Rodin to the collection, with the result that Stanford now houses the largest collection of Rodin sculpture outside of the Musée Rodin in Paris. Many are installed in the enhanced Rodin Sculpture Garden adjacent to the new wing.

The permanent collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts is diverse and wide-ranging, covering the history of art and representing a vast spectrum of cultures. Other strengths of the collection include large holdings of American and European drawings, prints, photographs and paintings, important works from China, Japan, Africa, Oceania and Native America (many of them acquired by Mrs. Stanford on her world travels in the 19th century), and a growing collection of modern and contemporary art.

The Center's opening provides new opportunities to build on the collection's strengths and assess and develop under-represented areas. Important recent gifts featured in the opening installations include Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park No. 94, from Phyllis Diebenkorn; a Claes Oldenburg sculpture, Soft Inverted Q, from Robin Quist Gates; and several stunning works of African art donated by collectors Marc and Ruth Franklin.

The installations are enhanced by significant loans, including a Richard Serra cor-ten steel sculpture from the collection of Doris and Don Fisher, a large bronze Willem de Kooning sculpture from the Willem de Kooning Revocable Trust, and contemporary prints from Drs. Katherine and Judd Marmor and the Marmor Foundation of Los Angeles. The first rotation of the Marmor's loan features prints by Jasper Johns.

General Information

The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm and Thursday until 8 pm. The bookshop, featuring popular and scholarly books on art and artists, art history, theory and education, is open during the Center's hours. In the cafe, managed by Edible Arts, visitors can relax with an elegant lunch or a light snack.

The Cantor Arts Center is located at Lomita Drive and Museum Way on the Stanford University campus, just north of Palm Drive. The Center is served by Alameda County Transit and San Mateo County bus lines. Free Marguerite shuttles are available to and from the Menlo Park and two Palo Alto CalTrain stations. For more information, please call Stanford's Parking & Transportation Services at (650) 723-9362.

Admission is free to the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. For more information on the Center and its programs, please call (650) 723-4177.