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Ed Gilbert, 2006.

Ed Gilbert (1953–2020)

Gallerist Ed Gilbert, who championed California’s art scene during his forty years in San Francisco, has died of cancer at age sixty-seven. As owner-director of Anglim Gilbert Gallery (formerly Galerie Paule Anglim), Gilbert showed Bay Area Conceptualists like Lynn Hershman Leeson, Howard Fried, and David Ireland at a time when West Coast artists were considered unfashionable by the New York–dominated art world.

An army brat, Gilbert was born in Austria and spent most of his childhood in Europe. After attending boarding school in Switzerland, he went on to Paris and then to Brighton, where he studied art history and French at Sussex University. In 1980, after a brief stint in New York, Gilbert landed in San Francisco with his partner Alexis. He settled in Mill Valley, Marin, and began working at Vorpal Gallery. Eight years later, Paule Anglim hired Gilbert as her namesake gallery’s manager and soon promoted him to director, a title he would hold until Anglim’s death in 2015, when he assumed leadership of the renamed Anglim Gilbert Gallery. That same year, he married Kern Shin, his partner of nearly two decades.

Gilbert’s 2017 Brooklyn Rail essay “Slow Art” describes his initial move to San Francisco and the skepticism his relocation invoked back east. “Thirty-seven years later I haven’t left,” he wrote. “Over the last decades, a community of artists, writers and performers has revealed itself to me and to a steady stream of other transplants. They (we) have joined in, and, I realize in retrospect, have become emissaries for the different forms of painting, sculpture, performance and social practice that unfold here.” As a board member of the Headlands Center for the Arts and the board president of Southern Exposure Gallery, Gilbert was influential throughout the city’s art community. He is survived by his husband, Kern Shin; his sons Adrian and Julian Shin; and his siblings Steven Gilbert, Mila Javier, and Pearl Gates. Donations in his memory may be made to the Headlands Center for the Arts or Southern Exposure Gallery.