Manhattan Beach Memoir: Artist Gary Sweeney Says Goodbye to His Childhood Home

November 30, 2018

Gary Sweeney, a San Antonio-established artist known for his humorous text-based work and art installations throughout the U.S., announced the debut of his new book, Manhattan Beach Memoir: Artist Gary Sweeney Says Goodbye to His Childhood Home, based on his most popular art installation, A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015.

The book documents the installation at 320 35th Street in Manhattan Beach, CA, made as a tribute to his family as they owned and occupied the home for over 70 years. The site-specific installation pays homage to his upbringing, family and the Manhattan Beach of the past. The photography exhibit consisted of 112 large-scale graphics of personal family photos, which were printed on MDO plywood and covered the entire outside of the artist’s childhood home. The installation was featured in national and international publications, including the Daily Mail UK,, ABC News, Dwell, Architecture Lab, and more.

The project was on display to the public during the entire month of February 2015, after which the photos were removed, and the home was replaced by a new development. The collection of photographs were originally taken by Mike Sweeney, Gary’s father.

He took hundreds of pictures documenting family events and even built a dark room located in the upstairs of the home where he developed most of the photos. Gary selected images that tell a story of a family and a home across 70 years.

“Our family has deep roots in Manhattan Beach. My father served as a city councilman for over a decade and he was the Mayor of Manhattan Beach for three terms,” said Sweeney. “This project was bittersweet for me to put together, but I wanted to give a proper farewell to my family residence. After the photos were taken down, what remained are memories of my youth and a place in time.”

Writers of the book, Wendy Weil Atwell and Neil Fauerso, also discuss the social and economic factors that shaped Sweeny’s childhood, the astronomical increase in real estate values, the meaning of home, photography’s role in society, and the Southern California art movements that inspired and influenced Sweeney’s art.

“This project brings a moment in time back to life for a brief period as the face of South Bay continues to change and evolve,” noted Sweeney. “This book conveys my memoir to the house where memories were made and shared. I’m grateful I can share just that with everyone.”

Manhattan Beach Memoir: Artist Gary Sweeney Says Goodbye to His Childhood Home is available for purchase on Amazon at The book is also available on the publisher’s website, Material Media, at

A video of the installation, A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015 is available here:

Gary Sweeney is an artist who works in many form¬s—from photography to painting to sculpting, resulting in a body of work ranging from neon signs, billboards and murals to wooden furniture, books and flower arrangements. Born into the fertile artistic climate of 1950s Southern California, Sweeney was surrounded by art and artists. He has become known for his appealingly nostalgic and humorous artwork and gained notability for his project Post-Obsessive, where he mailed more than 20,000 personalized, handwritten postcards that were altered with witty images, clippings and quotes taken from newspapers around the country. He also has permanent collections on view including America, Why I Love Her at the Denver International Airport, which is inspired by family road trips and bizarre monuments and roadside attractions, and Nostalgia, Texas at the San Antonio International Airport, where Sweeney designed neo-retro tourist posters with tongue-in-cheek slogans.