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Renaissance Society Announces Historic $1 Million Gift
A decade of publishing: The Joe and Rika Mansueto Publications Program at the Renaissance Society will underwrite new scholarship and creative inquiry at the renowned contemporary art museum for the next 10 years.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Solveig Øvstebø, executive director of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, recently announced the establishment of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Publications Program following a $1 million pledge from the Chicago-based founder of Morningstar and his wife. This transformative gift secures the independent contemporary art museum’s publishing activities for the next 10 years and marks the largest single commitment in its 104-year history.
Known around the world for its remarkable support of artists, the Renaissance Society has established itself as a unique platform for ground-breaking creative experimentation and deep inquiry. Publishing has been at the core of the institution’s activity since its founding in 1915, and it has produced significant exhibitions and accompanying publications with artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Mike Kelley, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Kerry James Marshall and Jennifer Packer. Distributed internationally, the museum’s books often offer the first scholarly reflections on artists' projects and capture pivotal moments in their careers.
"The Renaissance Society is driven by an unwavering faith in artists and their ideas. We support them to produce new art and, with it, new knowledge, new discourse, and new ways of thinking.” says Øvstebø. “Nowhere is this more evident than in our books, and the Joe and Rika Mansueto Publications Program provides long-term resources to continue to produce and share more broadly this important work."
“The Ren’s publications not only document the exhibitions, but expand the critical conversations that begin with them, and enter them into the art historical record. We are deeply grateful to Joe and Rika for their generous gift, which ensures the continued significance of the museum's output," added Richard Wright, president of the Board of Directors.
The Mansuetos’ donation follows the success of the Renaissance Society’s Next Century Fund, a $5 million campaign launched in conjunction with the museum’s 100th anniversary in 2015. With lead gifts from the Edlis-Neeson Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, and the Zell Family Foundation, this fund has enabled a significant increase in the production of new artworks by artists including Kevin Beasley, B. Ingrid Olson, and Shadi Habib Allah, and accompanying public programs.
The Joe and Rika Mansueto Publications Program will make it possible for the Renaissance Society to publish a monograph, catalogue or artist book to accompany each exhibition, typically four per year. These funds will also enable the museum to commission more contributors per publication, and to work with a wide range of designers and printers to produce them.