Irvine's Buck Collection Hits the Target
"First Glimpse: Introducing the Buck Collection" lives up to the mystique. As organized by curators Kevin Appel, Stephen Barker, and Cécile Whiting, it's 50 good to superlative works by 50 big names of California modernism (split between two campus galleries). Many of the works show an artist trying something a little daring, while at the top of his or her game. The Kuntz is one of his blimp paintings (and one of his riffs on Jasper Johns' targets). The Buck collection has a more iconic Kuntz freeway painting, but they're showing the blimp.
|Richard Diebenkorn, Albuquerque #9, 1952|
|Carlos Almaraz, Shoot Out, 1978|
|Lorser Feitelson, Magical Space Forms, 1952|
|Billy Al Bengston, untitled, 1962|
|Helen Pashgian, Blue Secret, 1994|
It's said that Buck's collection ranges from Eucalyptus School to Shepard Fairey. Normally a 3200-piece holding would skew towards works on paper. Buck collected drawings but only two are in the show (and no prints or photographs). Could there be hundreds of paintings and sculptures? A thousand? Your guess is as good as mine.
Barker says that over 500 artists are represented in the collection. Clearly it spans a lot of lesser-known figures. Buck collected in depth: The collection has 10 or more works by Carlos Almaraz, John Baldessari, Larry Bell, Bruce Connor, Llyn Foulkes, and Helen Lundeberg.
|Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Le Comble, 1955|
The museum, which will show the Buck collection as well as the Irvine Museum collection of California plein-air painting, is expected to be about 100,000 sq. ft, with 45,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space. That's nearly the size of the Broad.
The museum's working title has flipped from Museum and Institute of California Art (MICA) to Institute and Museum… (IMCA). Don't sweat that because Barker says there will be a naming opportunity for the museum. Expect it to open as the [Your Billionaire Name Here] Institute and Museum of California Art. For short, "The [Your Billionaire Name Here]."
That museum must be years away. In the mean time IMCA will be moving to an 16,000-sq. ft. interim facility on the campus. That would itself be a major upgrade, allowing UCI to show the Buck and Irvine Museum collections more properly and to inaugurate a program of loan exhibitions. The intention is to produce three shows a year.
|Joan Brown, People and Eye Trees in the Park in Madrid, 1961. Buck favored Baroque frames, even for Brown's feminist figure painting.|