A Generosity of Spirit contextualizes the web of inspiration that motivated a pioneering Beverly Hills AIDS research clinic doctor, Eugene (Gene) Rogolsky, as he accumulated works of art. It hints at the personal and professional relationships he has developed over time, as well as the sociocultural ambience that prevailed in the 1980s, when he was most actively engaged in collecting. Tim Wride, curator of A Generosity of Spirit, says that the Rogolsky Collection “is a collection that is populated by works done by artists who were patients, patients who were friends, and friends who became legends.”
Dr. Rogolsky’s collection is a complex and introspective one, where photographs, prints, paintings, and sculptures range from sacred to profane, local to international, cerebral to prurient. Little-known student works are side by side with some of the more iconic works of the past 40 years. While the collecting pattern is mostly a single work per artist, there are some who make their mark in the collection by a wider range of examples, Carlos Almaraz being one of them. In curator Tim Wride’s words:
“Carlos Almaraz is an artist who Rogolsky first came to know as a doctor, then as a friend, and ultimately as a patron. His holdings of Almaraz’s work span the breadth of the artist’s career—from graduate school to his too-early death at the age of 48. Through Almaraz, he became acquainted with Carlos’s wife Elsa Flores as well as other members of the East LA and Otis School of Art and Design communities. Works by these artists form another cornerstone of the Rogolsky Collection. Rogolsky’s close friendship with influential Chicago gallerist Anne Baruch and with LA-based artist, curator, and educator Henry Klein also gave him entrée to works done by printmakers and photographers from Eastern Europe such as Josef Sudek, Jindřich Štreit, Jindra Viková, Jiří Anderle, Oldřich Kulhánek, and František Drtikol, whose works form another strength of the Rogolsky Collection.”
Selma Holo, director of the Fisher Museum, says that the gift of the Rogolsky Collection to the USC Fisher Museum of Art will build bridges among divergent disciplines. The collection will create new opportunities for audiences to practice the virtue of looking intensely, while shining a light on the art and history of Los Angeles, the collector’s hometown.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website