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Photo: The Renaissance Society.
Photo: The Renaissance Society.

Renaissance Society to Establish Publications Program with $1 Million Gift

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago has received a pledge of $1 million from philanthropists and longtime supporters of the school Joe and Rika Mansueto. The gift, the largest donation the contemporary art museum has ever received in its 104-year history, will underwrite the operations of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Publications Program for the next ten years.

“The Renaissance Society is driven by an unwavering faith in artists and their ideas,” executive director Solveig Øvstebø said. “We support them to produce new art and, with it, new knowledge, new discourse, and new ways of thinking. 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.”

Publishing has been at the core of the institution’s activity since its founding in 1915. The Renaissance’s new publications program will make it possible for the museum to publish a monograph, a catalogue, or an artist’s book to accompany each of its exhibitions, which typically amount to four per year, for the next decade. The gift will also enable the institution to commission more contributors per book and to work with a wider range of designers and printers to produce them.

Richard Wright, president of the Renaissance’s board of directors, added: “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.”

Among the numerous publications produced by the institution are texts on artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Mike Kelley, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Kerry James Marshall, and Jennifer Packer. Most recently, the museum published Let me consider it from here (2019), featuring new poems by Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Simone White, and Lynn Xu, and Sadie Benning: Shared Eye (2018), with texts by Julie Ault, John Corbett, and Christine Mehring. Publications on Alejandro Cesarco, Liz Magor, and LaToya Ruby Frazier are forthcoming.