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'A Manhattan Beach Memoir' is Released

Dec 03, 2018 12:36PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Artist Gary Sweeney made a splash in Manhattan Beach with a provocative art and photography exhibit at his former home back in 2016. This month, a book about his exhibit called "A Manhattan Beach Memoir: Artist Gary Sweeney Says Goodbye To His Family Home" has just been released.

The exhibit that Sweeney created at 320 35th Street in Manhattan Beach was designed as a tribute to his family, who owned and occupied the home for over 70 years. The site-specific installation 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 UKPeople.comABC NewsDwellArchitecture Lab, and more. It 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. 

“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.”

The collection of photographs were originally taken by Mike Sweeney, Gary’s father. The senior Sweeney took hundreds of pictures documenting family events and even built a darkroom located in the upstairs of the home where he developed most of the photos.

In addition to the photo installation, the book's authors Wendy Weil Atwell and Neil Fauerso  discuss the social and economic factors that shaped Sweeney’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,” said Sweeney. “This book conveys my memoir to the house where memories were made and shared. I’m just grateful I can share 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

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