UCI Plots New California Art Museum

The University of California, Irvine plans to add some culture to its significant health care development on the north end of its campus.

The school says it is moving forward with plans to open a new museum and research institute on land it owns and overlooking views of the San Joaquin Swamp Preserve in Irvine.

The Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art, also known as the Langson IMCA, will be housed on Campus Drive adjacent to its $1.3 billion hospital and medical complex project currently taking place along from Jamboree Road.

Construction of Langson IMCA is expected to begin within the next two to three years, school officials said. The cost of the project has not yet been determined and an architect has not yet been selected.

“Once completed, it will be a beacon for the people of the city and all of Orange County,” Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said in a statement.

It is one of many museum projects currently underway for Orange County.

The new Orange County Museum of the Arts at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is set to open in October, at a cost of nearly $93 million, and Chapman University plans to nearly triple the size of its Hilbert Museum ( see the article, this page).

Langson’s IMCA

The Interim Langson IMCA Museum was established in 2017 following the acquisition of two California art collections: The Irvine Museum Collection, the personal collection of Irvine family heiress Joan Irvine Smith, and The Buck Collection , that of local developer Gerald E. Buck.

“I am happy that the works my father collected are on display in such a beautiful setting, near a nature reserve,” Gerald Buck’s daughter, Christina Buck, said in a statement.

Totaling more than 4,500 pieces, the permanent collection ranges from California Impressionism to post-war and contemporary styles.

Notable artists include nature painters Franz Bischoff and Jessie Arms Botke and abstract sculptor Ruth Asawa.

The museum said it is working with 19 local school districts to provide various educational programs, including virtual school tours and artist-in-residence.

The collection currently rotates between various pop-up sites and campus galleries; Langson IMCA’s current 2,500 square foot space on Von Karman Avenue will reopen in early June, officials say.

James Irvine Swinden, who led the Irvine Museum’s collection for more than three decades before donating the work to the UCI, added: “The new museum and institute will be an exceptional resource for art lovers. art and academics.

Construction projects

According to museum director Kim Kanatani, the future museum and research institute “will serve as a dynamic hub for discovery, exchange and engagement.”

It will host permanent and temporary exhibitions.

The size of the museum has not yet been determined. The project still needs to be approved by UC’s board of directors before moving forward.

Officials report that the school has received approximately $200 million in support for the new museum, taking into account the value of donated art collections as well as financial contributions through its ongoing Brilliant Future campaign.

Jack Langson, along with his wife and fellow UCI Foundation trustee Shanaz, made a naming donation of an undisclosed amount late last year to jump-start plans for the new building.

Officials say the museum is actively seeking more fundraising and there remain multiple naming opportunities inside the building.

Mildred D. Field