The Orange County Museum of Art had a long history in Newport Beach as the preeminent showcase venue for an eclectic, distinct and noteworthy variety of art exhibitions and installations.
Its longtime home in Fashion Island served the museum well, but the need to expand and accommodate an even broader and more distinct collection of artworks has come to fruition with the opening of the new Orange County Museum of Art on the campus of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Years in the making, the new OCMA building opened last October to incredible fanfare. The opening weekend (which was open 24 hours) saw hours-long lines to get in—a testament to the excitement of the new venue but also the inaugural exhibits.
The building itself is an impressive work of art. While the former OCMA home was functional, the new venue designed by Morphosis is architecturally dazzling both inside According to information from OCMA, the museum welcomed more than 70,000 visitors in its first three months—all via free admission, thanks to a $2.5 million gift from Lugano Diamonds, a Newport Beach–based jewelry retailer. The gift will provide free admission for the first 10 years of the museum’s operation.
According to Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director of the Orange County Museum of Art, the museum’s 2023 program schedule includes solo exhibitions dedicated to the artwork of Daniel Arsham, Jennifer Guidi, and Yu Ji.
In 2023 OCMA will also present an exhibition of paintings by Alice Neel, and a special commission by Tony Lewis coming this June.
The museum will also continue its inaugural exhibition “13 Women” (February 17–August 20, 2023), which pays homage to the thirteen women who founded the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, the earliest iteration of OCMA, in The Muzzy Family Special Exhibitions. Rotating works in and out throughout the run of the show, “13 Women” includes work by collection artists Chantal Joffe, Sharon Lockhart, Zanele Muholi, Rosa Navarro, Lorna Simpson, Mary Weatherford, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others.
“It continues to be incredible to watch our audiences engage with the new building, to watch it come alive as people move through the skybridges and galleries,” said Courtenay Finn, OCMA Chief Curator. “The light-filled and open spaces have allowed us to tell stories across disciplines, materials, and timelines and to conceptualize history in new ways. This openness is at the center of what OCMA is about.”
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS (Descriptions courtesy of OCMA)
“Daniel Arsham: Wherever You Go, There You Are”
February 17–May 28, 2023
The Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom Permanent Collection Pavilion, Avenue of the Arts Gallery, James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Gallery, Visionaries Gallery
Daniel Arsham’s solo exhibition “Wherever You Go, There You Are”—his first major US museum show—explores the artist’s concept of fictional archaeology. Arsham (b. 1980, Cleveland, OH) works across sculpture, architecture, drawing, and photography to investigate ideas of history, symbology, and the material nature of time. Traditionally, archaeology has been employed as a methodology to sort through and process the past, but Arsham’s multilayered practice asks the question: What if we could dig through the future?
Interested in the notion of time travel, the artist creates works that operate as future relics of the present—eroded casts of everyday objects and human figures built from geological materials like sand, pyrite, and volcanic ash. A camera, telephone, and hourglass, all conductors of information, merge with a replica of the 1981 DeLorean built by “Doc” Emmett Brown in the classic 1980s film “Back to the Future” to operate as remnants of the present seen through the eyes of future researchers.
OCMA’s exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
Organized by Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director, OCMA
February 17–August 20, 2023
The Muzzy Family Special Exhibitions Pavilion
“13 Women” marks OCMA’s 60th anniversary, paying homage to the thirteen women who founded the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, the earliest iteration of OCMA, which opened in 1962. On view in The Muzzy Family Special Exhibitions Pavilion, “13 Women” exhibition presents work from the 1960s to the present by artists in the museum’s collection. Centered on the work of thirteen pioneering female artists, each of whom share the visionary qualities of the museum’s founders, the exhibition features the work of Chantal Joffe, Sharon Lockhart, Zanele Muholi, Rosa Navarro, Lorna Simpson, Mary Weatherford, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others.
“13 Women,” Part II is curated by Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director, OCMA
“Alice Neel: Feels Like Home”
June 23–October 22, 2023
The Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom Permanent Collection Pavilion
“Feels Like Home” examines the role of kinship, chosen family, and the importance of community within the work of Alice Neel (1900-1984), one of the foremost American figurative painters of the twentieth century. A curated selection of 40 paintings, many pulled from the estate’s collection, focuses on Neel’s honest, intimate portraits of her home, children, animals, and expanded family.
Everyday occurrences—from two nuns walking arm in arm in the park to folks gathered in a movie theater lobby—also demonstrate a close bond with New York, which provided Neel with a sense of belonging, enabling the artist to create her own definition of family. Images of the city are combined with portraits of parents and siblings, embraces between children and their beloved pets, and detailed insights into the artists and poets in Neel’s circle—revealing the extraordinary breadth of an artist for whom there was no separation between art and life.
“Alice Neel: Feels Like Home” is organized by Courtenay Finn, Chief Curator
“Yu Ji: A Guest, A Host, A Ghost”
June 23–October 22, 2023
James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Gallery, Visionaries Gallery
How are our bodies impacted by changes in the environment around us? This question is at the core of Chinese artist Yu Ji’s sculptural and installation-based practice. Rrather than focusing explicitly on the tensions that often underlie this relationship, Yu Ji (b. 1985, Shanghai, China) asks us to re-examine the ties between our bodies and the built environment, offering the possibility that these connections are transformative.
In her first US museum solo exhibition, “Yu Ji: A Guest, A Host, A Ghost,” OCMA presents the first ten works in her ongoing series “Flesh in Stone” (2012–ongoing), where different-sized cement casts of the human body are presented in fragments, as parts of a larger whole.
Alongside these intimate cement works, the exhibition includes three of her Refined Still Life lithographs (all 2020)—ghostly, fugitive images of landscapes printed onto curved plates of stainless steel. Fragmented and abstracted, Yu Ji’s works seem to have come from the past while being reminiscent of a world still coming into being.
Combined with a new work created in response to the curved architecture of OCMA’s Mezzanine and Landing Galleries, “Yu Ji: A Guest, A Host, A Ghost” explores the interwoven relationship between the body, nature, and the built environment, asking us to think deeply about what it takes to occupy a physical form today.
“Yu Ji: A Guest, A Host, A Ghost” is organized by Courtenay Finn, Chief Curator, with Ziying Duan, Assistant Curator.
“Jennifer Guidi: And so it is.”
September 15, 2023–January 6, 2024
The Muzzy Family Special Exhibitions Pavilion
Jennifer Guidi’s layered painting practice investigates and generates meditative states of being—spaces in which spiritual, natural, and ethereal boundaries cease to exist. Guidi (b. 1972, Redondo Beach) produces abstract, colorful compositions that build on ancient theories of energy and perception to transport us into heightened states of being. Using a methodical system in which sand is applied directly to the surface of the canvas while wet, Guidi creates a ritualistic, repetitive choreography—one entirely her own.
OCMA’s exhibition, the artist’s first US museum solo show, presents a curated selection of Guidi’s recent work alongside the premiere of several significant new paintings. Focusing on the importance of place, especially evident within Guidi’s embrace of the colors of California—the fleeting pink and red of sunrises and sunsets, the hazy light of Los Angeles, the snow-capped mountains seen from a distance from her studio—the exhibition reveals an intricate body of work that operates as its own energy source. Installed throughout the Special Exhibitions Pavilion, Guidi’s paintings ask us to reach beyond our physical surroundings, encouraging us to seek out a spiritual and metaphysical world.
“Jennifer Guidi: And so it is” is curated by Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director, OCMA
Orange County Museum of Art is located at 3333 Avenue of the Arts in Costa Mesa. Visit www.ocma.art for more information.
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Source: Newport Beach Independent