Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco Announces Key Hires, Inaugural Programs

November 30, 2021

The Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco (ICA SF), a new noncollecting art museum slated to open in summer 2022, has announced four hires to crucial positions and has revealed plans for its inaugural exhibition. Situated in the city’s trendy Dogpatch neighborhood and occupying a refurbished 11,000-square-foot 1940 brick building that was once home to a paint company, the museum will begin welcoming the public in January with a three-month series of pop-up exhibitions by Bay Artists before officially opening in September with a major exhibition of work by Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson.

Under the directorship of Alison Gass, formerly the director of the unrelated Institute of Contemporary Art San Jose and earlier the director of the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, ICA SF is committed to paying its staff salaries commensurate with the Bay Area’s high cost of living. Gass is also acutely aware that those entering the museum profession are typically expected to hold graduate degrees and to have followed a distinct path through the art world. Such expectations foreclose an experientially diverse workforce. “We specifically took educational requirements and years of specific museum experience off of our job descriptions,” Gass told The Art Newspaper.

Among Gass’s new hires to assist her in the running of the museum are Christine Koppes, a former colleague in San Jose. Koppes, who does not possess a master’s degree but who is keenly attuned to the local art scene, will serve as curator and director of curatorial affairs. Renee Cyla Villasenor, who previously organized public programs at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, will bring that experience to bear in her new role as curatorial and programming associate. Jonathan Carver Moore, who formerly worked for the Rosenberg Foundation, which seeks to assist members of Californian communities of color in obtaining justice, will serve as director of donor relations, partnerships and programming, while Suzette Lee, who has worked in digital storytelling for food-delivery service Postmates and in creative management with artist and tattooist Christopher Martin, will step into the role of creative director.