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Everyone has that daydream, where you’ve won the lottery or inherited millions or otherwise struck it rich, and you innumerate the purchases you would immediately make. Buying photography is always at the top my list.

And apparently someone else’s: Andy Pilara, an investment banker from San Francisco, decided one day that he wanted to start collecting photography, walked into the Fraenkel Gallery, and bought a Diane Arbus print. He never looked back. Since his first purchase in 2003 (which he made after seeing the groundbreaking Diane Arbus retrospective at SFMOMA), he has put together a sweeping collection of 20th century American photography, including Garry Winogrand’s influential project The Zoo and Lee Friedlander’s groundbreaking typological series The Little Screens, of TV sets in the 60s.

Best of all, he has decided to put his collection on display. By renting one the vacant warehouses along San Francisco’s waterfront, Pilara has created the largest photographic exhibition space in the world. It measures 28 000 square feet, enough to allow each image all the breathing room it might need. Enough to show work that hasn’t been seen before (Friedlander’s series hasn’t ever been shown in its entirety). Almost enough space to showcase the highlights of Pilara’s immense collection. With 300 images, the first rotation only consists of 15% of the entire collection. As the San Francisco Chronicle points out, Robert Frank’s The Americans didn’t make the cut.

Most importantly, Pier 24 (both the name and location of the space) is free of charge. A dream come true.

Pier 24 The Embarcadero
San Francisco CA, 94105

Open By Appointment
Monday – Thursday
9am to 5pm