The newest exhibit featuring Daniel Arsham at the Orange County Museum of Art will inspire you to find art all around you.
Opened to the public in October 2022, the new Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) is bringing tasteful galleries and noteworthy traveling exhibitions to Costa Mesa. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Studio and led by CEO and Director Heidi Zuckerman, the new home for the OCMA is in ideal location, joining the South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and Samueli Theater.
“It’s my personal mission to connect people to art and artists, to make their lives better,” Heidi Zuckerman says. “We’ve had over 85,000 visitors in the first 90 days, with visitors from every state in the United states, plus Puerto Rico, and another 33 countries.”
“We’re doing something a little bit different and something that’s really needed in this contemporary time—I think it’s a need for connection, a need for inspiration, a need for joy, awe and wonder,” she added.
Since 1962, the OCMA, along with its predecessor institutions—Balboa Pavilion Gallery and the Newport Harbor Art Museum—have enriched Southern California with traveling exhibitions of 20th and 21st Century art, and a breathtaking collection of more than 4,500 works, focusing on artists from California. Now, three years after breaking ground on the it’s new permanent location, the OCMA is engaging the public through educational art experiences.
“It's my personal mission to connect people to art and artists, to make their lives better,” Heidi Zuckerman says.
“One of the unsung parts of the design of the museum is that it’s on the street level, with a lot of museums you have to take a trolley to get up there or you have to walk up a lot of steps,” Zuckerman says. “The thing that’s really amazing about the Orange County Museum of Art is that it’s at the same level as everyone who is on a bus, riding a bike or walking their dog, and so there is these kind of visual nudges that let people know that the museum isn’t someplace that’s not available to them.”
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The new museum exterior is wrapped with a distinctive façade of wave-like terracotta panels that extend inside, beckoning lovers of fine art to enter. Double the size of the museum’s former home in Newport Beach, the 53,000 square foot building provides an immersive artistic experience like no other, thanks to its central location, expanded gallery space and inviting public areas.
OCMA has 25,000 square feet dedicated to galleries, where noteworthy collections and traveling art exhibitions are featured. A sculptural wing hovering over the lobby atrium is home to a 10,000 square foot education center, which can be configured as a black-box theater or a light-filled studio. Large public stairs and a spacious roof terrace will connect OCMA to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Julia and George Argyros Plaza.
“I’m really excited about the Daniel Arsham show, which opens on Valentine’s Day,” Zuckerman says. “He is both a sculptor and a collaborator with high-end fashion brands like Tiffany, as well as being the only resident artist with an NBA team, with the Cleveland Cavaliers.”
Daniel Arsham’s solo exhibition, Wherever You Go, There You Are, is his first major US museum show. In the new exhibit, Arsham explores the concept of fictional archaeology through works across sculpture, architecture, drawing and photography, investigating ideas of history, symbology and the material nature of time.
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“It’s going to be really exciting for people to see that there’s an artist, and he’s not the only one, of course, but that there’s an artist who is not only making sculpture but who is also collaborating to create products that people find in their everyday spaces,” Zuckerman added.
Zuckerman hopes to inspire visitors to start looking at more things—including everyday objects—as art.
“The very best thing that can happen with art is that it can make people pay attention in a way that they never have before, to the things that they may have overlooked in their life,” Zuckerman says. “Some things might be more obvious like your tennis shoes, other things might be a little more abstract like your fork, but most things that we interact with and that we use in our daily life have some kind of intention from the person who made them and I think if we’re sensitized to that then it makes life that much more beautiful.”