Art Collectors Matthew and Iris Strauss Donate World-Class Collection to UCSD

Iris and Matthew Strauss
Iris and Matthew Strauss. Courtesy UC San Diego

Matthew and Iris Strauss and the Strauss Family Foundation have donated a world-class collection of contemporary art to UC San Diego along with funding for a gallery.

The collection comprises more than 100 pieces by artists from around the globe, ranging from paintings to mixed-media art to sculptures. It 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 Meta Gallery, slated to open in 2026 in Triton Center, 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.”

The couple 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.

“It began as a hobby,” recalled Iris Strauss. “It was important for us to collect from young artists – contemporaries of our time.”

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.”

Over the years, Iris and Matthew Strauss have made a significant impact on UC San Diego with support in areas including arts, culture and cancer research. The couple received the Chancellor’s Medal in 2019.

“We are thrilled that by donating this art collection to UC San Diego,” said Matthew Strauss. “It will open the collection to countless visitors and art lovers long into the future. We couldn’t think of anything better.”