The Buck Collection debuts
The prestigious-sounding name is somewhat aspirational: there is no actual art museum on campus, yet. But there is an art collection. UCI has obtained it almost instantly, at least as such things usually go, with museums developing their collections over generations.
The centerpiece of IMCA is the Buck Collection, some 3,500 works of contemporary California art bequeathed to UCI by Gerald Buck. A selection of about 50 works from the large collection is on display to the public in an on-campus exhibition called First Glimpse: Introducing the Buck Collection. The exhibits are in two gallery spaces, the Contemporary Arts Center and the University Art Gallery, and will be on display through January 5, 2019.
“The Buck Collection cements UCI’s mission to create one of the nation’s finest centers for the appreciation of California art,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman when the gift of the collection was first. “For nearly three decades, these beautiful and important pieces have been kept mostly under wraps. We can’t wait to exhibit these gems to the public.”
The collection includes works by Richard Diebenkorn, Agnes Pelton, Henrietta Shore, Carlos Almaraz, Peter Alexander, Sam Francis, Ruth Asawa, Bruce Conner, Roger Kuntz, Nathan Oliviera, David Park, William Ritschel, Wayne Tiebaud, Paul Wonner, Helen Lundeberg, and many others.
The Buck Collection, which L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight described as “the finest holding of its kind in private hands,” will eventually be displayed on campus in a 100,000-square-foot building expected to cost between $150 million and $200 million. It will be located near the Barclay Theater, a location where iconic UCI architect and planner William Pereira foresaw a museum in his original campus designs.
Next fall, UCI will dedicate a 16,000-square-foot space in a building in UCI Research Park to display more of the Buck Collection, which is valued at up to $40 million.
The temporary space will also display works from Irvine Museum collection, which includes some 1,200 works of California Impressionism valued at $17 million, donated to UCI by Joan Irvine Smith.
The space will be the temporary showplace for both collections, with themed shows and exhibits showing aspects of the IMCA collection, while funds are raised and a new museum built on campus.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of symposia and talks by living artists in the collection, other artists, and arts scholars and researchers.
The first lecture in the ‘An Artist’s Glimpse’ series will be a conversation between artists Chuck Arnoldi and Peter Alexander on Oct. 25. Each artist has a piece in the First Glimpse: Introducing the Buck Collection.