Jason Linetzky has spent the better part of his 20-year career working with one of the world’s most coveted private collections of 20th-century American art: the Anderson Collection. The collection was built over the last 50 years by Bay Area residents Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, and by their daughter, Mary Patricia Anderson Pence.
The core of the collection, pledged to Stanford in 2011, is a significant marker for the Stanford Arts Initiative, which supports the university’s commitment to the arts.
In what is a turning point for Linetzky and the collection, he becomes the first director of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, which opens to the public in fall 2014.
“Having worked with the Anderson family and understanding their goals, it’s phenomenal that Stanford is providing a spectacular platform for sharing their collection with the broadest of audiences,” said Linetzky about the display of the collection in the new Anderson Collection building.
A plan to construct a building dedicated to displaying and interpreting the 121 works spanning seven decades was enthusiastically approved by the Stanford Board of Trustees the same year the transformative gift was announced. Ground was broken in 2012 and the building is on schedule to open next fall.
Linetzky has been an integral part of the collection’s remarkable development. Next year he will shepherd the move from family bedrooms and corporate boardrooms to a 33,000-square-foot building designed by Ennead Architects.
“Family collections are unique in that they tell the story of relationships – with artists, dealers, curators, scholars and many others. This collection is certainly an art historical one in that it represents key modern and contemporary American art movements, but at the same time, and just as importantly, it represents the collective choices and tastes of the family who built it,” Linetzky said.
“Maintaining the care, custody and control of the collection up until now has been a tremendous pleasure, and I am excited to engage with campus partners and collaborate on presenting the objects and their stories in ever-unfolding ways.”
Roberta Katz, the university’s associate vice president for strategic planning, said: “I’ve had the privilege of working with Jason from the early days of our discussions with the Anderson family about bringing their collection to Stanford, and am particularly pleased that he moves to Stanford along with the works of art he knows so well. Jason will help Stanford ensure the continuity of care for this important art so lovingly collected by the Anderson family.”
Linetzky will be responsible for the presentation of the Anderson Collection and the operation of the new space, but the immediate focus is hiring staff, planning the inaugural exhibition, editing the accompanying catalog and overseeing docent training. He will also be building partnerships on campus. Partners include his arts district neighbors, the Cantor Arts Center and Bing Concert Hall, and future neighbor the Department of Art and Art History in the new McMurtry Building scheduled to open in 2015, but he is also interested in reaching out to engineering and science departments.
“The imminent arrival of the Anderson Collection and Jason’s appointment at Stanford mark an important crossroad in the university’s path toward excellence in the visual arts,” said Nancy Troy, chair of the Department of Art and Art History. “We are thrilled to participate in the collaborative environment that the arts district will encourage once the Department of Art and Art History has moved to its new site alongside the Cantor Arts Center and within a stone’s throw of the Anderson Collection. This is the beginning of a golden period for Stanford students and for the larger Bay Area community.”
The executive director of arts programs on campus, Matthew Tiews, said: “Jason has played a key role in the development of the plans for the Anderson Collection at Stanford University for some time, and I’m delighted to be able to welcome him officially to campus. He brings a deep knowledge of the collection and an interest in working collaboratively with campus partners. The Anderson Collection at Stanford University under Jason’s leadership will be a vital addition to our campus arts resources.”
Linetzky’s extensive experience with all aspects of fine arts management – research, curating, conservation, installation, lending – and broader interest in all the arts will serve the university well because of the interdisciplinary emphasis on campus. Before working with the Anderson Collection, Linetzky was an independent curator, a film festival director and curator, and a commercial gallery founder who worked in the areas of antiques, decorative arts, tribal/ethnic and emerging arts.
Born in the Midwest, raised on the East Coast, educated at American University in Washington, D.C., and transplanted to the Bay Area about 17 years ago, Linetzky says he is delighted to be joining the Stanford community.
“This feels like a significant turning point – a dedicated building for showcasing collection exhibitions, developing campus-wide collaborations, expanding research opportunities and emphasizing direct object study for students, scholars and the public within a museum setting,” said Linetzky.
“Exposure to the arts and the support I received from an early age provided me with an opportunity to pursue my interests in this field. Stanford’s bold, sustained commitment to increasing the presence and accessibility of the arts creates just such an opportunity for generations to come.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce this very special collection, and through it, connect with the broadest of constituencies.”