Sweeney Gallery Celebrates 50 Years of Art at UCR

Exhibition of selections from permanent collection continues through Sept. 28

Art installation

Yoram Wolberger, “Petting Zoo,” 2004, cast plastic, dimensions variable, Sweeney Art Gallery @ UCR ARTSblock Permanent Collection, gift from the Mark and Hilarie Moore Collection.

RIVERSIDE, CALIF.— “ESSENTIAL: Selections from the Permanent Collection Celebrates UCR Sweeney Art Gallery’s 50th Anniversary” continues through Sept. 28. The exhibition brings attention to the gallery’s growing permanent collection, alongside the deep photographic collection at UCR/California Museum of Photography, which celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year with an exhibition based on its permanent collection, “Around the World in Forty Pictures.”

A closing reception is planned at Sweeney on Sept. 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

The art gallery was established on UCR’s main campus in 1963. In 2007, after moving to downtown Riverside, it became a component of the newly established ARTSblock. Selected works in the exhibition come from gifts by artists, collectors and galleries given to Sweeney since 2007. Many of the artists represented have been featured in past exhibitions at the gallery. “ESSENTIAL” emphasizes work that has been acquired since the gallery joined UCR ARTSblock.

The works are organized in loose groupings that include Abstraction, Animals, Body, Borders, Photography Into Painting, UCR MFA student work, and work from Inland Empire-based artists and UCR Faculty. The artworks cover a variety of media including video installations, drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, books, postcards, posters, and prints.

Artists represented include Marsia Alexander-Clarke, Tom Allen, Judie Bamber, Edward Beardsley, Tad Beck, Margarita Cabrera, Albert Contreras, Edgard De Souza, John Divola, Sean Duffy, Peter Edlund, Reanne Estrada, Fritz Haeg, David Leapman, Gabriela Leon, Peter Lodato, Jason Lutz, Rachel Mayeri, Christopher Russell, Dan Torres (El Daino), Rubén Ortiz Torres, Ann Phong, Perry Vasquez & Victor Payan, Alison Walker, Stephanie Washburn, and Yoram Wolberger.

“ESSENTIAL: Selections from the Permanent Collection Celebrates UCR Sweeney Art Gallery’s 50th Anniversary” is curated by Tyler Stallings, director of the gallery and artistic director of the Culver Center of the Arts. UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the city of Riverside provided support.

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Sweeney, who died May 10. The university art gallery is named for Marilyn and her husband, Jack, who survives her.

“It is clear to me that Jack and Marilyn Sweeney viewed their philanthropy with UCR as a way to help the campus make an impact in the local community and Southern California,” Stallings said. “They did this by supporting programs that would help faculty, students, and artists connect more deeply with the world.”

Sweeney Legacy

Jack Sweeney, who was founder, chairman and CEO of First Regional Bank in Century City, served as a trustee of the UCR Foundation board from 1989 through 2007. Marilyn Sweeney served as a trustee from 2006 to 2011. Together, they touched nearly every corner of the campus through their dedicated service and enduring philanthropy, Stallings said. “Their sensitivity to the needs of the campus and their remarkable generosity provided health, stability, and vitality to many UCR programs,” he said.

Along with the art gallery, the Sweeneys also supported the California Museum of Photography (CMP) for nearly three decades, said Jonathan Green, UCR ARTSblock executive director.

“When the Kress Building was being transformed to the California Museum of Photography, Jack and Marilyn generously supported this reuse and renovation project,” Green said. “CMP’s main gallery is still designated in their name. They were instrumental in bringing to CMP the entire collection of 6,700 ‘Fiat Lux’ negatives of famed photographer Ansel Adams to CMP. ‘Fiat Lux’ was commissioned by the University of California to mark the university’s centennial anniversary.”

“Seeing the value of connecting the campus with the larger community, Jack and Marilyn Sweeney also supported an annual Sweeney Arts Day from 1999 to 2009, which offered a chance for high school students to see opportunities in the arts that await in college,” said Stephen Cullenberg, dean of UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. The event usually involved about 200 Inland Empire students who would explore dance, creative writing, film, and other performing and fine arts at UCR.

The Sweeneys also supported the Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Granite Mountains Reserve and the related Desert Research Center in eastern San Bernardino County, which UCR manages for the UC system.

“Jack and Marilyn were incredibly proud to have been associated with the Sweeney Art Gallery, ARTSblock and UCR,” Steve Sweeney said on behalf of the Sweeney family. “In particular, they were proud of the great work that the curators and directors of the Sweeney Art Gallery and ARTSblock have done, including assembling such a fine permanent collection. It is an honor for our family name to be associated with such fine work and innovative art.”

Permanent Collection

The permanent collection at Sweeney Art Gallery has evolved over the decades. But, with its move into the Culver Center of the Arts building, it has a climate-controlled storage area, which allows the gallery to develop a strategic vision and policies for future acquisitions, Stallings said.

One of the core strengths of the collection is a large acquisition of fine art prints several years ago. They had been part of an art lending library program through the Associated Students of UCR since 1967. Fifty-three prints comprised the core of the graphic arts collection with several significant, international artists represented, such as George Bellows, Marc Chagall, Honoré Daumier, Jean Dubuffet, Francisco Goya, John Paul Jones, Käthe Kollwitz, Rico Lebrun, Pablo Picasso, and James Whistler, among others. Additional significant works on paper include a Man Ray portfolio, “The Wadsworth Athenaeum: Ten Works by Ten Artists” portfolio, along with editions by Susan Rothenberg, Kara Walker, and June Wayne.

Building on its strength with works on paper, in 2011 the gallery acquired a trove of nearly 500 political art posters, including an extensive selection of posters from the Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Organización de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Asia, África y América Latina, OSPAAAL). This is a Cuban political movement with the stated purpose of defending human rights. “The acquisition of these political graphics builds on past exhibitions that have focused on political and social themes, and have featured artists from Latin America, such as Cuba and Mexico,” Stallings said.

More jewels in the permanent collection include works of sculpture by Ron Cooper, Takashi Murakami, Roland Reiss, and Dewain Valentine. Other acquisitions since 2007, but not included in the “ESSENTIAL” exhibition as several are on loan to other institutions, include those by Center for Land Use Interpretation, Richard Clar, Sean Dockray, eteam, Desiree Hollman, Lisa Jevbratt, Jason Middlebrook, Carrie Paterson, Bradley Pitts, Alison Ruttan, Connie Samaras, Michael Shroads, Jim Trainor, Hong-An Truong, and Julie Thi Underhill.

“Gifts to the collection and purchased acquisitions have been made possible only with the beneficence of major individual supporters, such as Jack and Marilyn Sweeney,” Stallings said. “The fact that so many people now and in the future will benefit from their support is a testament to their generosity and commitment to making art accessible to the public.”

UCR ARTSblock is located at 3824 and 3834 Main St., Riverside, and includes three venues: California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts, and Sweeney Art Gallery, which are open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., plus 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for First Thursday ArtWalks. Admission is $3, which includes entry to all three venues, and is free during First Thursday ArtWalks (6 p.m.-9 p.m.). For film screenings, Culver Center opens 30 minutes prior to the start time.

Concurrent Exhibition Opening and Closing Receptions on Sept. 28

“ESSENTIAL: Selections from the Permanent Collection Celebrates UCR Sweeney Art Gallery’s 50th Anniversary,” Sweeney Art Gallery, June 29-Sept. 28, closing reception

“Patrick Quan: Accidents and Failures,” Culver Center of the Arts, Aug. 17-Sept. 28, closing reception

“Reconsidering Winogrand’s Women,” California Museum of Photography, Aug. 10–Oct. 26, opening reception

“Zoe Crosher: The Further Disbanding of Michelle duBois,” CMP, Aug. 24–Nov. 9, opening reception

“More American Photographs,” CMP, Sept. 28–Jan. 11, 2014, opening reception

Ongoing Summer Exhibitions

“Geographies of Detention: From Guantánamo to the Golden Gulag,” CMP, closes Sept. 7

“Jackrabbit Homestead: Tracing the Small Tract Act in the Southern California Landscape, 1938-2008, a project by Kim Stringfellow,” Culver Center, closes Sept. 28

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Tyler Stallings
Tel: (951) 827-1463
E-mail: tyler.stallings@ucr.edu

Joanna Szupinska-Myers
Tel: (951) 827-4788
E-mail: joanna.szupinska@ucr.edu

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