First Glimpse: Introducing The Buck Collection

The exhibition has passed

September 29, 2018 – January 5, 2019

UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University Art Gallery and Contemporary Arts Center Gallery
712 Arts Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697 (printable directions)
Admission is Free

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Hardcover Book Now Available

A limited number of hardcover books that explore even more of The Buck Collection are now available for purchase. The book features essays by the exhibition curators and is fully illustrated with the 50 works in the exhibition as well as 100 additional artworks, comprising an expanded first glimpse of The Buck Collection.

Hardcover, 260 pages – $60

The book is available for purchase in person at The Hill at UC Irvine. Contact us for more details.

Explore the First Glimpse: Introducing The Buck Collection exhibition via a virtual docent tour.

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About The Exhibition

Art patrons and art lovers know the collection as
“the best collection of California art that no one has ever seen.”

For more than twenty years, Orange County developer Gerald Buck engaged in an unexpected pastime: building an unparalleled collection of artworks in a wide variety of genres and media.

Initially collecting for pleasure, eventually Mr. Buck realized that he had in fact built something unique: more than thirty-two hundred works, most of which were bought, boxed, and stored away. Many of the works in the collection have not been seen since they were purchased and stored, though Mr. Buck lent works to exhibitions across Southern California. As an autodidact regarding artwork, Mr. Buck focused his attention on his own personal study of the works, the artists, the genres, and their cultural significance. Among his chief desires was that the works be studied and appreciated for their many values.

In order to fulfill that commitment, at his death in 2013 Gerald Buck passed the collection to UCI. We are indeed delighted that we have received this great opportunity. UCI will construct a fitting home for the Buck Collection (and others, centrally The Irvine Museum Collection, gifted to UCI in 2016). Over the next several years, UCI will build the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art, the focus for the exhibition of, and research on, California Art. But we are eager to introduce this great collection to the public. Toward this goal, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts will host the first public exhibition of selected works from the Buck Collection. An accompanying exhibition catalogue with essays by the exhibition curators, Cécile Whiting, Kevin Appel, and Stephen Barker, will be available late in the fall.

The exhibition, sponsored by the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, will be a unique opportunity to see some of the finest art produced in California.

Stephen Barker
Executive Director, UCI IMCA

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries, please contact Jaime DeJong, Communications Director for the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

 Kevin Appel Bio:

Kevin Appel received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design in New York in 1990 and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1995. The artist is the recipient of the 2011 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists and the Citibank Private Bank Emerging Artist Award, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Appel has had numerous solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, which include Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; “Paintings,” Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City, CA; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY; Wilkinson Gallery, London, England; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, among others.

Group exhibitions include “Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; “XL: Large-Scale Paintings from the Permanent Collection,” The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar, Poughkeepsie, NY; “Drawing Now: Eight Propositions,” The Museum of Modern Art, Painting at the Edge of the World, Walker Qtt Center, Minneapolis, MN, among others.

Appel is a Professor at UC Irvine and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Stephen Barker Bio:
Dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and Director of the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art, Stephen Barker has been Chair of Drama, Chair of Art, Faculty Assistant to the Chancellor, and Director of the UC-wide Education Abroad Program in France. He was previously a professional actor, director, dancer, choreographer, musician, and advertising executive. He now works internationally in critical theory and aesthetics. He has written and edited books and articles on numerous artists and philosophers, and has recently translated several volumes by French philosophers for Stanford University Press. Barker is a founder of the journal Derrida Today and is on the faculty of the London Graduate School. He lives in Irvine and Provence with his wife Michelle, a retired clinical psychologist.

Cécile Whiting Bio:

Cécile Whiting is Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Art History and the Graduate Program in Visual Studies at UCI. She specializes in the history of American art with a focus on the mid-twentieth century about which she has published three books: Antifascism in American Art (Yale, 1989), A Taste for Pop: Pop Art, Gender, and Consumer Culture (Cambridge, 1997), and Pop L.A.: Art and the City in the 1960s (University of California, 2006). Pop L.A. was awarded the 2009 Charles C. Eldredge Prize from the Smithsonian Institution for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art. This fall she will receive the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History from the Archives of American Art.

The UCI Institute and Museum for California Art (UCI IMCA) is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of California art, thanks to foundational gifts of The Irvine Museum Collection of over 1,200 California Impressionist paintings and The Buck Collection of more than 3,200 works of California modern art. The University is poised to construct a permanent museum and research institute on the UC Irvine campus—fulfilling the vision of campus architect William Pereira’s original 1962 campus blueprint—which will be a global magnet for the exhibition and study of California art and its social and cultural framework. In the meantime, UCI IMCA is hosting exhibitions at the Irvine Museum Collection gallery in Irvine, California and at the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts. For information, please visit:

As UCI’s creative laboratory, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts explores and presents the arts as the essence of human experience and expression, through art forms ranging from the most traditional to the radically new. The international faculty works across a wide variety of disciplines, partnering with others across the campus. National-ranked programs in art, dance, drama, and music begin with training but end in original invention. Students come to UCI to learn to be citizen-artists, to sharpen their skills and talents, and to become the molders and leaders of world culture. For more information, please visit

The University Art Galleries are committed to promoting an inter-generational dialogue between 60s/70s neo-avant-garde art and contemporary visual culture. Accordingly, the curatorial mission is to keep an eye on the modernist past while promoting the most innovative aesthetic and political debates of the post-modern present. From this vantage, the projects commissioned provoke intelligent debate on the subject of art in its most expansive poetic definition. For more information,

Download First Glimpse Exhibition Fact Sheet
Press Image Key


Peter Alexander, Thrasher, 1992. Oil on canvas, 48 x 84 in. The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art, © 2018, Peter Alexander.

First Glimpse Events

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. If you would like to be notified when new events are added, please sign up for updates.

There are no upcoming events at this time.
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Docent-Led Tours

Take a deeper look at the exhibition on a complimentary gallery tour led by an Art History graduate student docent, who will discuss selected highlights in the context of the history of California art and the Buck Collection. Tours take place at the Contemporary Arts Center Gallery and University Art Gallery.


5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

  • Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Nov. 1, 8, 15, 29
  • Dec. 6, 13

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

  • Oct. 13, 20, 27
  • Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Dec. 1, 8, 15
  • Jan. 5


Gallery Hours

Tuesday – Saturday | 12:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Thursdays until 8:00 p.m.
Holiday Closures:  
December 25 – 29, 
January 1
(949) 824-9854 |