sfai news

May 10, 2011

SFAI Honors David Goldblatt and Paul Sack at 2011 Commencement

In recognition of their outstanding contributions to global contemporary art, culture, and thought, the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) will be conferring an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts on photographer David Goldblatt and the Douglas MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award on collector Paul Sack at SFAI’s 133rd Commencement on Saturday, May 14, on SFAI’s historic 800 Chestnut Street campus in San Francisco.

“It is an honor to present these awards to two individuals whose deep commitment to photography has enriched communities in the Bay Area and around the world,” said Diane Frankel, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Photographer David Goldblatt has been documenting South African society for over 50 years. Born in 1930 in Randfontein, he has been a critical observer of apartheid, presenting a complex view of the structures, ideologies, and attitudes behind the violent and oppressive system, as well as its continuing legacy. In 2006, Goldblatt received the prestigious Hasselblad Photography Award, and in 2009 he received the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award for his project ‘TJ’, an ongoing examination of the city of Johannesburg. Goldblatt’s work has been exhibited at such venues as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; The Jewish Museum, New York; and documenta 11 and 12. He is also the founder of the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, which teaches visual literacy and photographic skills to youths, particularly those disadvantaged by apartheid.

Paul Sack was a student of painting and drawing at SFAI in the early 1960s, and, following a career as a real estate investor, collecting photography has been his principal occupation for the past 20 years. In 1998, he and his wife established the Prentice and Paul Sack Photographic Trust at SFMOMA, donating an important collection that now comprises nearly 1,800 works spanning the history of the medium, and Sack continues to be influential in and supportive of the Bay Area photography community. He has served several times as a member of SFAI’s Board of Trustees (leaving once to become the country director of the Peace Corps in Tanzania), including as head of its Building Committee when the architect Paffard Keatinge-Clay was hired in 1965 to design the addition to the original building at 800 Chestnut Street.

Goldblatt joins SFAI’s long and accomplished list of Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts recipients, including in recent years Huang Yong Ping, Nalini Malani, Graciela Iturbide, Ed Ruscha, Thelma Golden, Hans Haacke, Joan Jonas, Kynaston McShine, Doris Salcedo, Pirkle Jones and David Ireland.

Sack likewise joins a list of eminent Douglas MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Awardees, including Ruth Braunstein, David Robinson, Marion Green, Paule Anglim, San Francisco Cinematheque, Kitty Carlisle Hart, The Names Project, and Guerrilla Girls.

Douglas MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award

Established at SFAI in 1996, the Douglas MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award is periodically bestowed on a person, organization, group, or cause that has made a singularly compelling contribution to the contemporary art world, especially as that contribution concerns the public awareness of issues and ideas in the visual arts.