Orange County Museum of Art launches acquisition initiative


The Orange County Museum of Art – which aims to open its $ 93 million building designed by Thom Mayne on October 8 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa – announced two key hires earlier this week: the chief curator Courtenay Finn and Meagan Burger’s Director of Learning and Engagement.

On Wednesday, the museum launched an ambitious acquisition initiative. “60 for 60” has set itself the goal of acquiring 60 new works of art to celebrate the museum’s 60th anniversary and mark the opening of the new building.

The initiative sums up director Heidi Zuckerman’s vision for OCMA, which is to “look back to look to the future,” she told The Times.

“You really only have this opportunity to build a new museum once in the history of an institution, probably,” Zuckerman said. “This is an opportunity to fill in the gaps of the past.

At the same time, she adds, the new acquisitions will include artists already represented in the museum’s collection or those who exhibited at the museum in the past but were not collected at the time. Also included will be artists represented in the next exhibitions.

The collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art consists of more than 4,500 works by artists from California and the Pacific Rim. This highlights important movements with SoCal roots, such as Light and space, Pop art, minimalism, Californian conceptualism and early and mid-century modernism. While the museum has significant holdings from some artists, such as John Baldessari, Charles Ray and Ed Ruscha, a recent analysis of the collection showed glaring holes, Zuckerman says.

“The percentage of works by male artists compared to female artists – probably by agreement with most museums – is around 75-25,” Zuckerman said. “So a big part of my initiative is to collect works by female artists. And, of course, artists of color.

Zuckerman says the museum has benefited from several substantial donations over the years of work by artists of color. “But it’s a great opportunity for us to take advantage of that,” she adds.

New OCMA building, under construction for more than a decade, will almost double exhibition space to 25,000 square feet – hence the acquisition campaign.

On Zuckerman’s wishlist? A surfer by Catherine Opie. And some of what she calls “Northern California’s lesser known but really interesting female artists,” such as Joan Brown and Jay DeFeo. “We have works from them in the collection, but I would like to have more,” she says.

Zuckerman, a This avid Californian hiker said the outdoors was a big part of her vision for the museum. The design of the new building is particularly indoor-outdoor, with multiple skylights, retractable walls, more than 10,000 square feet of green space and an outdoor space that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. And Zuckerman intends to exhibit works of art, including paintings, outdoors.

“And we’re working on a large site-specific order that will be revealed on the Sculpture Terrace in the Upper Square when we open,” she says.

Meanwhile, construction on the new building is nearing completion and the construction campaign now stands at $ 67 million.

When it opens, general admission to the OCMA will be free for the first 10 years, guaranteed by a donation of $ 2.5 million from Lugano Diamonds, based in Newport Beach.

The inauguration The special exhibit will be a resurrection of the museum’s California Biennial, which began in 1984. “California Biennial 2022,” co-curated by Elizabeth Armstrong, Essence Harden and Gilbert Vicario, will include painting, sculpture and photography, as well as music, design, fashion and interactive installations.

Zuckerman will organize a reinstallation of the permanent collection, “13 Women”, a nod to the founding women of the museum. OCMA’s Cassandra Coblentz will curate “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World)”, the artist’s first retrospective at the West Coast Museum since 1978.

Both Finn and Burger worked with Zuckerman at the Aspen Art Museum before moving on to other institutions. Finn arrives at OCMA from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, where she served as chief curator. It starts in March. Burger, who joined OCMA in October, was from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where she was responsible for adult learning.

“It’s really exciting,” said Zuckerman, who took office in February 2021, “to be able to lead this transformation of an institution at a time when there is so much uncertainty in the world – it really is. great to be able to deliver something as promised.


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