The San Francisco Chronicle Announces New Art Critic

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 10, 2015 — (PRNewswire) —  The San Francisco Chronicle today announced it has hired Charles Desmarais to be its new art critic. Desmarais will step down as president of the San Francisco Art Institute to take on the role.

"We could not be more thrilled to have someone of Charles' stature take on this deeply important role at The Chronicle, where we take special pride in our exhaustive coverage of the fine arts. His critical voice also comes at an incredibly important time for San Francisco Bay Area's art scene," said Chronicle Editor in Chief Audrey Cooper.

In 2016, among other things, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will reopen after three years with a new wing the never-before-seen Fisher Collection. The collection of more than 1,000 pieces was donated by Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher.

Other notable Bay Area art events include the recent opening of Anderson Collection at Stanford University. The university is also soon opening the McMurtry Building, which will house an interdisciplinary arts hub. In January, UC Berkeley will open the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Together, these events promise to elevate the region's role in the national and international art discussion.

Desmarais will bring a unique perspective to The Chronicle. He has served as director of several museums, including the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, the Laguna Art Museum in Southern California, and the California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside. He served as deputy director for art at the Brooklyn Museum prior to becoming the San Francisco Art Institute president in 2011.

An accomplished critic and curator, Desmarais has written scores of articles and essays, and organized more than 50 exhibitions. He was editor for several years of the photography journals Afterimage and Exposure; wrote a bi-weekly column, On Art, for the Riverside Press-Enterprise; and was awarded an Art Critics Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.

"I'm looking forward to covering the Bay Area arts scene at a crucial point in its evolution, a time when the whole art world will be looking at the Bay Area," Desmarais said. "I am energized by the opportunity to write about our great art institutions, our galleries, and our artists at this key moment, as our vibrant arts community faces the promise and the challenges of a new era."

Desmarais will join the Chronicle team on Nov. 2, 2015, reporting to Assistant Managing Editor David Wiegand.

About The San Francisco Chronicle
The San Francisco Chronicle ( is the largest newspaper in Northern California and the second largest on the West Coast. Acquired by Hearst Corporation in 2000, The San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 by Charles and Michael de Young and has been awarded six Pulitzer Prizes for journalistic excellence. With name-brand voices and a keen editorial eye, the Chronicle is an authority that still surprises.

About Hearst Newspapers
Hearst Newspapers is the operating group responsible for Hearst Corporation's newspapers, local digital marketing services businesses and directories. With more than 4,700 employees across the nation, Hearst Newspapers publishes 15 dailies and 36 weeklies, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union. It also operates digital marketing services and directories businesses under the LocalEdge brand.

About Hearst Corporation
Hearst Corporation ( is one of the nation's largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 36 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations, which reach a combined 18 percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; significant holdings in automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical business information companies; a 50 percent stake in global ratings agency Fitch Group; Internet and marketing services businesses; television production; newspaper features distribution; and real estate. Follow us on Twitter @HearstCorp.


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San Francisco Chronicle
Sarah Morse Cooney, San Francisco Chronicle, 415.777.7852
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