UCI sets location for its California art museum – Orange County Register

UC Irvine’s growing North Campus was chosen as the future home of the Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art.

Museum and university officials chose the location of the Langson IMCA, as it is called, intentionally, said museum director Kim Kanatani, because of its proximity to the San Joaquin Swamp Preserve, as well as healing gardens planned on UCI’s expanding health campus. in development.

“Its proximity to nature is very critical for the museum,” Kanatani said. “It really resonates with our collections.”

Over 3,000 works of modern art in a variety of mediums collected by Gerald Buck, a longtime Orange County developer who died in 2013, plus over 1,000 works of impressionist and outdoor art donated by James Irvine Swinden from the former Irvine Museum collection, will be available to museum galleries. And since those two major donations in 2016 and 2017, Kanatani said more and more people have donated pieces to the Langson IMCA, expanding its collection.​​

The museum was named in late 2021 following a donation from Jack and Shanaz Langson.

“The new museum and institute will be an exceptional resource for art lovers and scholars alike,” Swinden said.

And with such a large collection already amassed, Kanatani said his team will now begin their mission of sharing and engaging the public through art, although the museum building along Campus Drive near Jamboree Road, is still a few years away from construction. .

“We really don’t want to wait to welcome people and then build audiences. We’re building audiences now,” Kanatani said. “We work hard to engage the public in the range of collections we have on California art.”

The next such exhibition, “Variations of Place”, will open in June at the museum’s temporary site on Von Karman Avenue – previously the location of the Irvine Museum. It will feature 30 California Impressionist paintings by 20 different artists, Kanatani said.

Starting in August, a second exhibit will open in a gallery on the UCI campus, while the fall will bring a new exhibit at the temporary museum and a virtual exhibit for online audiences, Kanatani said.

As programming begins, museum officials plan to hire a consultant this year to continue planning and budgeting for the new location, before hiring an architect, ideally next year, Kanatani said. Construction could begin in 2024, although she noted the project is still subject to UC board approval.

“We are very excited about our vision for the project – to truly realize a new museum and institute as the epicenter of California art,” said Kanatani, “a cultural catalyst for Orange County and beyond.

“California art is a story that has not been fully told and we have the honor, privilege and responsibility to do all we can to tell that story.”

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Reggie S. Williams