May 20, 2016

The Ren Announces Largest Gifts in 100-Year History

A patchwork umbrella covers a dark, head-shaped sculpture, which itself covers a gas mask.

Kevin Beasley, Your face is/is not enough (detail), 2016. Commissioned by the Renaissance Society for Between the Ticks of the Watch, Apr 24–Jun 26, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo: Tom Van Eynde

We are delighted to announce that the Renaissance Society has received three leading gifts to its Next Century Fund, a campaign to underwrite the production of ambitious new artworks.

The Edlis Neeson Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, and the Zell Family Foundation have each pledged $500,000 for a total of $1.5 million. These donations represent the largest gifts in the institution’s history.

Launched in conjunction with our Centennial celebrations in fall 2015, the Next Century Fund is a $5 million campaign that will enable us to provide unparalleled support for new commissions as well as to further develop our educational and publishing activities.

Solveig Øvstebø, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Renaissance Society, said, “Over its history the Renaissance Society has stayed resolutely small and focused, which offers us an incredible freedom and flexibility. My hope is for the Ren to be an engine for new artistic production, engaging with artists who are addressing urgent and timely issues. These amazing gifts give us the resources to push the boundaries of art in new and unexpected directions.”

Board President Jorge Cauz added, “All of us at the Renaissance Society are deeply grateful to these generous donors for the trust they’ve placed in us and our work. In our 101st year, we have redoubled our commitment to exploring the critical questions that only art can address, and to supporting artistic creation from first thought to final presentation.”

Founded in 1915 by a group of University of Chicago faculty members, the Renaissance Society quickly established itself as one of the most important venues in the Midwest for the presentation of avant garde art, introducing audiences to the work of Calder, Cézanne, Léger, and many others.

Today, “the Ren”—as we are affectionately known—produces internationally recognized exhibitions of a scope that is rare for an institution of its size. As we enter our second century, we seek to act as a laboratory, encouraging experimentation, stimulating fresh ideas, and presenting projects that often would not be possible in the context of a commercial gallery or larger museum.