Eugene (Gene) Rogolsky, a Beverly Hills AIDS research clinic doctor, has given his collection of more than 700 works to the USC Fisher Museum of Art.
The gift, which adds to established streams of collecting at Fisher, also creates new areas of collecting for the museum. It includes works by Jiří Anderle, Jan Saudek and Josef Sudek as well as Laura Aguilar, Robert Arneson, Jonathan Borofsky, Charles Bragg, Jo Ann Callis, Judy Chicago, Elsa Flores, Dan McCleary, Herb Ritts, Frank Romero, Peter Shire, George Tooker, Salomon Huerta, Robert Gil de Montes and Jerome Witkin.
Rogolsky also donated pieces by Nahum Zenil, Graciela Iturbide, Hans Burkhardt, Lucien Clergue and Arturo Mallmann.
The doctor’s collection is a complex, unorthodox and introspective one, where photographs, prints, paintings and sculptures range from sacred to profane, local to international, cerebral to prurient. While the collecting pattern is mostly a single work per artist, there are some who make their mark in the collection by virtue of a wider range of examples — famed Chicano artist Carlos Almaraz, for example, with 55 works.
Tim Wride, curator of the museum’s fall 2016 exhibition introducing the collection, writes, “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, Gene became acquainted with Carlos’ wife, Elsa Flores, as well as other members of the East L.A. 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 L.A.-based artist, curator and educator Henry Klein also gave him entrée to works done by printmakers and photographers from Eastern Europe such as Anderle, Sudek, Jindřich Štreit, Jindra Viková, Oldřich Kulhánek and František Drtikol, whose works represent another strength of the collection.
USC Fisher Museum Director Selma Holo, in praising the gift, said that the Rogolsky Collection 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.