The New Orange County Museum of Art aims to open access to all | Artbound | Art and culture

SANTA ANA (CNS) – Orange County Museum of Art Executive Director Heidi Zuckerman said Wednesday she was on a tour of the museum’s new building in Costa Mesa when she noticed several passers-by.

“Some random people walking their dogs came by and waved at us,” she told reporters at the opening of the new museum on the campus of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which opens to the public on Oct. 8. “It was great. I was a kid in a candy store, “Hey, it works, it works.”

Zuckerman said architecture firm Morphosis understood what museum directors wanted in a new facility.

“They understood that most of all we want from a building an invitation, a call to the whole community to come and experience what we have to offer…a seamless connection between outside and inside.” It allows people to walk down the Avenue of the Arts to see what’s going on in the galleries.”

Architect Tom Mein, the design director, said he has been planning the design of the 53,000-square-foot building back and forth for the past 14 years with South Coast Plaza Partner and OCMA trustee Anton Segerstrom, son of the arts campus’ founder.

“We realized it was a training facility,” Maine said.

… What we wanted from a building above all was an invitation, a call to the whole community to come and experience what we have to offer.

Heidi Zuckerman, CEO, Orange County Museum of Art

The facility includes a plaza to encourage more outdoor visitor interaction.

Maine’s partner, Brandon Welling, told reporters that the process began in 2007, but more seriously in 2014, with a “design reveal” to the media in 2018.

The architects sought to “remove barriers” throughout the art museum, which is located near the performing arts center, concert hall and theater. He noted that the gallery space is nearly 25,000 square feet, double the room of the previous building, with an upper terrace of 10,631 square feet.

“If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s how much we need the experience of shared spaces where new connections can be made and unexpected conversations can happen,” Zuckerman said. “That’s where the sparks of creativity can fly.”

And thanks to a donation from Lugano Diamonds, admission to the museum will be free for all visitors for the next 10 years, Zuckerman said.

“There is no economic barrier to experiencing our exhibitions and programs,” she said.

A sculpture sits atop amphitheater-like stairs on OCMA's outdoor terrace

Sanford Biggers’ From Many Waters is installed on an outdoor patio at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). | Karen Zhao

The new museum also features Sanford Biggers’ work From Many Waters, a 24-foot-wide, 16-foot-tall multimedia outdoor sculpture featuring shiny metallic sequins. Biggers said it was a continuation of a large bronze sculpture he completed and another recent work with upcycled quilts.

“It was really kind of a hope and a prayer of how we would figure it all out,” he said.

The artist is originally from Los Angeles, so when thinking about the commissioned work, he thought of “billboards, advertisements and Hollywood.” It features an “archetypal body” of a “river god” with “a cornucopia in the god’s hand, indicating the life-giving qualities of the water bodies and the earth,” as well as African masks.

He said the work brings “all of this together for goodwill and good omens for the museum.”

The added gallery space will allow greater use of the museum’s permanent collection alongside its exhibitions, said chief curator Courtney Finn.

Interior gallery view of the California Biennial exhibit at OCMA

The California Biennial is one of five exhibitions at the new Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), which opens on October 8. | Sandy Hemmerlein

The museum will launch with five new exhibitions. One is “California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold,” and will feature works from the museum’s expanded permanent collection.

A white sculpture hangs in front of a blue painting in a gallery at OCMA.

Lee Bull’s Supernova (2000) is part of the 13 Women exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), October 8, 2022 – August 20, 2023 | ofstudio

The exhibition “13 Women” focuses on the founding women of the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, which is the beginning of the museum, as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Fred Eversley Install 5.jpg

Fred Eversley Install 5.jpg

1/4 Installation View of Fred Eversley: Reflection Back (The World) (October 8, 2022 – January 15, 2023) Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA | ofstudio

Fred Eversley Install 3.jpg

Fred Eversley Install 3.jpg

2/4 Installation View of Fred Eversley: Reflection Back (The World) (October 8, 2022 – January 15, 2023) Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA | ofstudio

Fred Eversley Install 4.jpg

Fred Eversley Install 4.jpg

3/4 Installation View of Fred Eversley: Reflection Back (The World) (October 8, 2022 – January 15, 2023) Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA | ofstudio

Fred_Eversley_OCMA_preview

Fred_Eversley_OCMA_preview

4/4 Installation View of Fred Eversley: Reflection Back (The World) (October 8, 2022 – January 15, 2023) Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA | Sandy Hemmerlein

Another exhibit features the work of Fred Eversley, who had a groundbreaking show at the museum in 1976. And another exhibit pays tribute to the work of Peter Walker, a leading landscape architect best known for the National 9/11 Memorial, who has a long history of work with the Segerstrom family and the arts center.

The museum will host a 24-hour party starting at 5:00 p.m. on October 8 and will include various performances, film screenings, music and other activities.

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