Meet Pamela Hornik, an art collector known for bringing joy to many in the arts ecosystem through her support of artists, exhibitions, and institutions. Opening next month in San Francisco is her latest venture Some Dogs, an exhibition that is a celebration of both the glory of dogs and artistic expression. Curated by PJ Gubatina Policarpio, Some Dogs showcases a selection of works from Pamela’s vast collection of art representing dogs. The collection spans paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures and represents a multi-generational group of artists. Some visitors may even recognize her adorable Insta famous 7-pound rescue dog Teddy, who features across the artworks!
Here, we chatted with Pamela to find out more about her collection and upcoming show.
Tell me about yourself and how your passion for collecting art began.
After raising my four children, I discovered the power of art, and it changed my life. I started volunteering at the Cantor Arts Center a dozen years ago and was exposed to truly amazing art. I still volunteer at the Cantor and my obsession with art continues to grow. I currently serve on the boards of four amazing institutions: the Cantor, the Anderson Collection, the Berkeley Art Museum, and Pacific Film Archive, and the ICA San Francisco. I split my time between the Bay Area and New York City, where I’m always looking to discover new artists.
What is your focus regarding the artists in your collection? Are you more interested in emerging or renowned artists?
I have never had any rules about collecting. I collect whoever and whatever speaks to me. I love supporting new artists. My collection is largely contemporary figurative art. I like to be surrounded by exciting images of the broadly diverse world in which I live. As I type this, I am staring at a fantastic new piece by Bernadette Despujols that has really transformed my tiny living room.
Are there any reoccurring themes within your collection?
I talk about how the figurative art in our collection is a reflection of the personhood of the artists and their subjects. I am drawn to images that are honest, complex, personal, and above all else beautiful. But, if I were being truthful, one of the biggest recurring themes in my collection is dogs. I am obsessed with dogs in art and acquire a lot of work of or including dogs. I just love dogs.
Can you share more about your current show ‘Some Dogs’?
As I was contemplating turning 55, I decided to give myself a birthday present and host a gallery show of my dog art. My dog art is as diverse as my figurative art on all axes. I have photographs and paintings and prints and sculptures. I have work of and by incredibly diverse individuals and, of course, a wonderfully diverse set of dogs, including an embarrassing number of paintings of my own dog Teddy.
What is a work of art that you wish you owned?
A couple of years back I went to see an exhibition of Chase Hall’s work in Brooklyn at the Clearing gallery. I am a huge Chase Hall fan. And in that show, he had a self-portrait with his Great Dane called “Paisley and I (Bomber and Batsy).” Sadly, it had already been acquired. I think about that piece all the time. It is incredible.
Do you have any more exciting plans for the future?
When I started working on Some Dogs, I figured I’d just put up all my dog art for people to enjoy. But it turns out I had a lot more art than I had wall space. So, I’m already thinking about Some More Dogs. Maybe for my 60th. In the meantime, I have lots of great museum shows I’m supporting in the coming months and continue to toy with the idea of publishing a book about artists and their studio dogs.
Exhibition Dates: April 23 to May 7
Location: 419 10th Street, SF, CA
Interview by Peigi Mackillop @peigicatriona