Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

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This article is about Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. For other Museums named Museum of Contemporary Art, see Museum of Contemporary Art (disambiguation).
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla branch in 2008

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (or MCASD), in San Diego, California, US, is an art museum focused on the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of works of art from 1950 to the present.


A large art piece displayed projecting out from the La Jolla museum roof in 2007
The entrance of Museum of Contemporary Art, downtown San Diego
Museum of Contemporary Art, downtown San Diego

Founded in 1941 in La Jolla as The Art Center in La Jolla, a community art center, through the 1950s and 1960s the organization operated as the La Jolla Art Museum. The museum was originally the 1915 residence of philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, designed by the noted architect Irving Gill.[1]

In the early 1970s, the name changed to the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, focusing the purview on the period from 1950 to the present. In 1990, the Museum changed its name to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, acknowledging the larger geographic context and the population base of nearly 3 million in San Diego County, and opened another satellite facility downtown in 1993, further embracing the region.

In 1996, a major renovation and expansion of MCASD La Jolla took place, designed by Robert Venturi of the firm Venturi Scott Brown & Associates. In 2007, a downtown location of the Museum was opened, designed by architect Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner Architects, New York.

In 2014, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego chose architect Annabelle Selldorf to head a multimillion-dollar expansion that is expected to triple the size of the museum's location in La Jolla. The project will create more gallery space to exhibit the museum's permanent collection, as well as additional space for education.[2]


In 2012, the Museum of Contemporary Art received 30 contemporary pieces from the 1950s to 1980s, with artworks from Piero Manzoni, Ad Dekkers, Christo, Jules Olitski and Franz Kline, as well as California artists Craig Kauffman and Ron Davis, from the collection of Vance E. Kondon and his wife Elisabeth Giesberger.[3]


MCASD has a permanent endowment fund of over $40 million, and an annual operating budget of approximately $6 million. Annual support comes from a balanced mix of individuals, corporations, foundations, government agencies, and interest earned from the endowment, the majority of which came from a transformational 1999 bequest from Rea and Jackie Axline of more than $30 million.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McCoy, Esther (1960). Five California Architects. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation. pp. 97–99. ASIN B000I3Z52W. 
  2. ^ David Ng (March 17, 2014), Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego picks architect for expansion Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ Jamie Wetherbe (March 23, 2012), San Diego museums receive $40-million art collection Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°50′40″N 117°16′41″W / 32.84444°N 117.27806°W / 32.84444; -117.27806 (Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla)