Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld, the self-help book author, is a major donor to California State University, Long Beach. In 2019, she gave the university $10 million, the largest donation Cal State had received for the expansion of the university’s art museum, which is now named for Kleefeld.
But Artnet said that she also gave “120 of her own artworks to the institution’s permanent collection (as well as her library, personal archive, and more than 20 inspirational books she has written, including The Alchemy of Possibility: Reinventing Your Personal Mythology and Soul Seeds: Revelations and Drawings).” The artwork is now 6 percent of the university’s art holdings, according to a Los Angeles Times art critic.
The art currently on display is “frankly terrible—by far the worst I’ve seen on display in a serious exhibition venue, public or private, for profit or nonprofit, in years,” the Times art critic, Christopher Knight, wrote.
A professor at Long Beach told Knight, “If that was a student applicant’s portfolio, they wouldn’t get admitted to the program.” (The School of Art at Long Beach has about 2,000 students in graduate and undergraduate programs.)
Gregory Woods, a spokesman for the university, told Artnet, “We are grateful for the investment that this and other donors have made to the museum and the arts at Cal State Long Beach. These gifts are essential in expanding educational opportunities available for our students and provide cultural enrichment for our community.”