This New Gallery in San Francisco Wants to Cultivate the Next Generation of Tech Collectors

Rebecca Camacho Presents, led by a 20-year veteran of Anthony Meier Fine Arts, will open May 16.

Rebecca Camacho, 2019. Courtesy of Rebecca Camacho Presents.

The San Francisco art scene is at something of a crossroads these days, trying to square its old grassroots ideologies with the major influx of tech money that has changed the financial landscape of the area. And while many bemoan the fact that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs haven’t exactly stepped forward as the next great generation of collectors, Rebecca Camacho thinks that’s going to change. And she’s opening her own gallery to capitalize on it. 

“Historically in San Francisco, there was a standard set of collectors,” the art-world veteran and Bay Area native tells artnet News, “and for a long time there wasn’t an obvious group of people coming up to take those reins. Now, with the tech boom of the last decade, there is. There are people coming out of that community and making themselves big players in the art world. It’s boosted a younger crop of collectors in the Bay Area, which is a huge positive.”

Camacho has watched the landscape change during her 20-year tenure at San Francisco gallery Anthony Meier Fine Arts. Next month, she strikes out on her own with Rebecca Camacho Presents, a 928-square-foot storefront space in downtown San Francisco at 794 Sutter Street.

The inaugural show, which opens May 16, is dedicated to Sahar Khoury, an Oakland-based artist who makes sculptures and installations out of industrial materials and found objects. This week, Khoury was named one of the winners of the 2019 SFMOMA SECA Art Award, a prize given once every two years to a Bay Area artists that comes with a solo show at the museum. 

The new 928-square-foot home of Rebecca Camacho Presents, located at 794 Sutter Street. Courtesy of Rebecca Camacho Presents.

Camacho spent two decades working for Meier, one of a small handful of San Francisco-based dealers who have proven staying power in the city. She met him back in 1998 when she was working at the experimental art space Capp Street Project. Meier was on the board of the foundation and called one day looking for someone to “answer the door and serve drinks.” Camacho, just out of college at the time, happened to pick up the phone.

“It’s funny,” she says, “that little moment turned into a relationship that has been one of the pillars of my adult life.”

Camacho began working at the gallery full time, eventually working her way up to director. She had been with the gallery for exactly 20 years when she left last February.

That her departure coincided with such a big anniversary was no accident. “I saw that 20 year anniversary coming and I started to think to myself, ‘What else is out there for me, what might I explore?’ I found that it was impossible for me to answer that question while I was still at the gallery.”

After leaving, Camacho began to work as a consultant on public art projects. But she realized that her favorite aspect of working in the gallery world—establishing, as she puts it, “long, personal dialogues with artists”—couldn’t be accomplished in the same way through project-based work. That was the moment when she decided to pursue a goal that had long been gestating in the back of her mind: to open her own space.

“It’s an exciting time in the Bay Area and there is always room for more participants,” Anthony Meier tells artnet News. “Rebecca is very aware of the art landscape in San Francisco and her tenure in the art world has prepared her for new role as gallery owner.”

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