Skip to main content

Matthew and Iris Strauss Donate World-Renowned Art Collection to UC San Diego

The campus will be home to the Strauss Family Meta Gallery, named in honor of the gift

Published Date

Article Content

Matthew and Iris Strauss and the Strauss Family Foundation have donated a world-class collection of contemporary art to the University of California San Diego. The collection comprises more than 100 pieces by artists from around the globe, ranging from paintings to mixed-media art to sculptures. The collection includes pieces by renowned artists such as Zhang Huan, Fred Wilson, Sabine Moritz, Yin Xiuzhen, Nalini Malani, Ken Nolan, Donald Sultan, Jörg Immendorff, Ross Blechner and many more.

The Strauss Family Foundation is also donating the 6,000-square-foot property which currently houses the collection, with the intent that it will be sold to create the Matthew and Iris Strauss Family Foundation Endowment at UC San Diego. Funds from the endowment will be used to provide for the maintenance of the collection in perpetuity.

Iris and Matthew Strauss
Iris and Matthew Strauss

In recognition of the gift, UC San Diego will name the Strauss Family Meta Gallery, the newest addition to the arts ecosystem at UC San Diego. The Strauss Family Meta Gallery in UC San Diego’s new Triton Center is slated to open in 2026, and will use all art forms to showcase the convergence of art, technology, science and culture across 2D, 3D, and virtual and augmented reality.

“We are so grateful to Matt and Iris Strauss for their generous donation of this incredible collection of art from the Strauss Family Foundation,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “UC San Diego is a premier destination for world-class art, performances and cultural experiences, and this collection will enhance the university’s reputation as a place for everyone in our diverse regional community to experience the many dynamic arts and entertainment offerings on campus.”

Iris and Matthew Strauss began collecting art in 1987, beginning with two pieces by Gerhard Richter, who has come to be widely considered one of the most important contemporary artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection includes works created from 1984 forward. “It began as a hobby,” recalls Iris Strauss. “It was important for us to collect from young artists – contemporaries of our time.”

From there, collecting art grew into a passion for the couple. They purchased a wide range of contemporary works from artists of all ages, from all over the world. In 2008, they decided to open the collection to the public. The couple brought groups of students from local community colleges and UC San Diego to tour the collection. Matthew Strauss took pride in personally leading the tours, sharing his passion and insight into the collection.

“A college campus is a place where young people are making career choices – whether in medicine, engineering, science, music or art,” said Matthew Strauss. “We feel that it is important for students to be exposed to world-class art, to expand their minds and learn abstract thinking at this stage in their lives.”

The Strauss Family Meta Gallery will be part of UC San Diego’s new Triton Center, which will serve as a hub for students, staff and faculty, as well as alumni and prospective students, families and visitors to UC San Diego. The new center will be designed as an environment that fosters interaction and connection amongst the Triton and local community.

“Not only will the pieces be accessible to all UC San Diego students, but Triton Center will be just a five-minute walk from the campus trolley stop, which opens the university up to the entire city,” said Matthew Strauss. “We are thrilled that by donating this art collection to UC San Diego, it will open the collection to countless visitors and art lovers long into the future. We couldn’t think of anything better.”

Jess Berlanga Taylor, director and curator of the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego, added: “At UC San Diego, we continue to create innovative culture by presenting the highest quality, cutting-edge contemporary art that addresses the global complexity of our times, with equity, diversity and inclusion at the center of our exhibitions, commissions and partnerships.”

Over the years, Iris and Matthew Strauss have made a significant impact on UC San Diego – and throughout the region – with support in areas including arts, culture and cancer research. The couple received the Chancellor’s Medal in 2019 for their longstanding contributions and support of the campus. They served as Campaign Cabinet members during the Campaign for UC San Diego, as well as on the Health Sciences Board of Advisors and co-chaired the development committee. UC San Diego Health, including Moores Cancer Center, has been their recent fundraising focus with gifts to create the Iris and Matthew Strauss Center for Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer and to help fund the development of a cancer vaccine. They have also established several endowed chairs.

“This art collection has been a major part of our lives, and UC San Diego has played a significant role in our lives for the last 10 years, so this gift just made sense,” said Iris Strauss. “We really feel that we are doing the right thing."


Share This:

Category navigation with Social links