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Eric and Peggy Lieber Donate Contemporary Art Collection to Weisman Museum

By Nate Ethell ('08)

Eric and Peggy Lieber Contemporary Art CollectionForeground:
Deborah Butterfield (American, born 1949), Haku Mele,
1991.
Cast bronze, 77 x 103 x 29 inches.
 
Background:
Wesley Kimler (American, born 1953), Far
from Habitation, 1987.
Oil on Canvas.

The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art announced a significant donation of contemporary art from the estate of Eric and Peggy Lieber. Focusing on American art from the 1970s and 1980s, the gift consists of 30 works of art valued at over $1.6 million. The Liebers previously donated more than a dozen works between 2001 and 2007, representing the largest donation of art ever received by the Weisman Museum.

The collection includes post-minimalism, process, and assemblage art, as well as examples of pop art. Included are key works by renowned California artists such as Lynn Foulkes, Tim Hawkinson, David Hockney, Ed Kienholz, Michael C. McMillen, Gwynn Murrill, John Register, Peter Shelton, and the late Mike Kelley.

This donation adds significant depth to our holdings of contemporary art," said Michael Zakian, museum director. Eric Lieber had studied art before entering a career in television and was always drawn to works that reveal the artist's creative process.

This interest in unconventional methods and materials shaped the works he collected."

Eric and Peggy Lieber Contemporary Art CollectionJean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960 - 1988), untitled,
1982.
Crayon and oil stick drawing on paper, 22 x 30 inches.

The artwork also features pieces created by American artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Deborah Butterfield, Chuck Close, Nathan Oliveira, Larry Rivers, Andres Serrano, and Sean Scully, among others.

The collection has so many extraordinary pieces," said Michael. If I had to select one favorite, it would be an untitled 1982 drawing by graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. This image features an array of the artist's favorite and most famous symbols such as the crown, Lincoln penny, and lists of African American athletes. This work is a quintessential example from perhaps the best period of his tragically short career."

Prior to their passing, Eric and Peggy Lieber were career television producers. Eric created and produced television's long-running dating show, Love Connection, which aired from 1983 to 1999. Peggy specialized in working with music artists and produced television specials for industry icons such as Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, and Herb Alpert.

The Liebers donated the collection to Pepperdine because they wanted to share it with the public and thought we would be the best place to do that," Michael explained. Although this collection includes art any major American museum would proudly display, Mr. and Mrs. Lieber loved the idea that the art would go to a university museum where it would be appreciated by students and used as a learning resource."

Selections from the Lieber donation are currently on display in a new exhibition of works from the permanent collection celebrating the 20th anniversary season of the Weisman Museum. Celebrating Two Decades: The Eric and Peggy Lieber Collection and Other Gifts will be on view to the public through August 4, 2013.