As fires rage throughout parts of northern California, Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, describing the situation as one of the worst firestorms in the state’s history. At present at least 11 people have died, with over 100,000 acres of land scorched by the fires. Evacuations began Sunday night and continued through Monday. Meanwhile, some institutions housing prominent art collections have closed their doors for safety reasons.
The Hess Collection, housed in the Napa Valley, announced on its website that it has closed to the public for safety reasons. The museum houses Donald Hess’s private collection, which includes pieces by Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, and Robert Motherwell.
Napa’s di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, which has three galleries containing prominent Bay Area artists such as Bruce Conner, Lynn Hershman Leeson, David Ireland, and Richard Shaw, said on its Twitter account on Tuesday, “Fire fighters are on site & galleries are ok.”
Update, Wednesday, October 11, 11 a.m.: A spokesperson for di Rosa told ARTnews that the center is is “currently without power, including access to phones and email, and thus is closed until further notice. At this time, staff access to the site has been minimal due to road closures and the hazardous conditions in the area. We know that the fire touched the north end of the property, but did not reach the main campus, including all galleries and offices.”
As of Tuesday, another Napa landmark, Stonescape, Norman and Norah Stone’s art-filled property, has so far been unaffected by the disaster, according to a representative for the collection, which contains work by Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Joseph Beuys, and a site-specific James Turrell. Due to it being a private space, it has not had to contend with public closures.
In nearby Sonoma, an official with Oliver Ranch confirmed over the phone that its collection remains safe at present.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.