After closing its 217-acre campus to the public last year due to the pandemic, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art welcomes visitors back to revel in its extensive collection of Bay Area art from the last 70 years.
On April 17, di Rosa unveils its first major exhibition of this year, “The Incorrect Museum: Vignettes from the di Rosa Collection.” The show features several works pulled directly from founder Rene di Rosa’s collection of Northern California art, as curated by the organization’s Executive Director Kate Eilertsen.
“We made some shifts in the exhibition programming and decided to focus on the collection,” Eilertsen says.
Rene and his wife Veronica di Rosa accumulated approximately 1,700 pieces of art during their lifetimes, and Eilertsen shares more than 150 of those pieces in the upcoming show.
“The exhibition honors Rene,” Eilertsen says. “Because the art world needs more people, like Rene, who believe that art should be collected and that supporting artists should be the priority.”
Eilertsen chose the name “The Incorrect Museum” for the show as a tribute to Rene’s immersive curatorial expertise.
“Rene hated labels; he wanted people to stand in front of a work of art and have their own experience with it, without being told what to think,” Eilertsen says.
When visitors walk into the exhibit entrance, they are greeted by a floor-to-ceiling explosion of art, hung in Rene’s personal style with little to no regard for labels.
“You’re sort of bombarded with all this great art,” Eilertsen says.
Once inside the massive exhibit, visitors have six different glimpses—through Eilertsen’s vignette displays—into the notable moments that shaped 20th century Northern California art.
For those unable to visit in person, “The Incorrect Museum” will be available to view on di Rosa’s website, including artwork images, curatorial texts and historical resources.
“We’re trying to re-write H.W. Janson’s ‘History of Art’ book, and teach people about art from Northern California,” Eilertsen says.
Also opening April 17 is “Ceramic Interventions.” The group exhibition boasts art by Nicki Green, Sahar Khoury and Maria Paz; all of whom exemplify the Bay Area’s long tradition of radical experimentation in ceramic arts with their thought-provoking works.
The di Rosa Center for Contemporary Arts’ campus is currently open to the public Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 3pm. When the exhibits open on April 17, di Rosa will extend its hours and offer an enhanced visitor experience featuring docents on hand to guide art enthusiasts across its outdoor sculpture gardens.
“The property looks just beautiful,” Eilertsen says.
One major sculpture will be impossible to miss. Mark di Suvero’s “For Veronica” (pictured) was recently relocated from the sculpture garden to a prominent position on the hillside in front of Winery Lake, where di Rosa and di Suvero originally intended to place the piece 25 years ago.
“We moved it from the back to the front of the property, so that when people drive by they don’t think it’s another winery,” Eilertsen says. “They will think it’s an arts center.”