California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold
Orange County Museum of Art
October 8, 2022 – January 22, 2023
LA Art Documents regularly travels beyond the borders of Los Angeles to explore diverse contemporary artistic and cultural institutions worldwide. As we move into the 2023 art season, this is a good time to highlight some important exhibitions from 2022 - and feature a variety of new California museums that are must-see destinations.
The Orange County Museum of Art opened to the public at a brand new location and building in the city of Costa Mesa on October 8, 2022 with its California Biennial titled PACIFIC GOLD. The newly built facility was designed by the famous Morphosis Studio and its founder, 2005 Pritzker Prize winner, Thom Mayne.
This beautiful building is carefully woven into the fabric of the city offering a new and significant trademark for Costa Mesa. The welcoming plaza, with Richard Sera’s monumental sculpture in front of the museum, is designed as the main community gathering point. The building has a vast interior with high sheer ceilings and perfectly lit walls. The gallery space is big enough to host a rotating permanent collection and special exhibition projects such as the California Biennial.
The biennial started in 1984, and its last iteration took place in 2017 - a long pause was taken to accommodate the new building. The museum’s new director, Heidi Zuckerman believes the biennial is in the DNA of their institution and takes the operational directive of looking into the past to be able to see the future. A multigenerational dialogue is essential in the Pacific Gold exhibition. Starting with the decision to include three curators, who all come from different generations (boomer, gen X, and millennial) in order to bring rich perspectives on what the contemporary art scene in California has to offer.
The Co-Curators include: Elizabeth Armstrong former deputy director of Orange County Museum of Art and Palm Springs Art Museum; Gilbert Vicario formerly of the Phoenix Art Museum now Chief Curator of the Pérez Art Museum Miami; and Essence Harden curator at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
These three curators selected a stellar cohort of 19 artists who all live and work across California. From the desert to the oceanside to the dense metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco, the biennial offers unique perspectives and a decentralized picture of the excellence that can be found in California’s contemporary art landscape.
This exhibition featured various artistic media and genres, from painting, drawing, sculpture, large-scale installation, textiles, ceramics, multimedia, and digital works. Pacific Gold proved to be a unique platform for distinctive voices. It raised critical conceptual dialogues that offered engaging points of view on issues including class and racial division, global climate change, and numerous relevant socio-political topics.
We look forward to what exhibitions are yet to come at the stunning Orange County Museum of Art and anticipate great things at its next California Biennial. Entry to the museum is free and open Tuesday through Sunday.
Tanya Aguiñiga, Alex Anderson, Sadie Barnette, Kenturah Davis, Sharon Ellis, James Gobel, Raul Guerrero, Candice Lin, Maria Maea, Narsiso Martinez, Hector Dionicio Mendoza, Alicia McCarthy, Simphiwe Ndzube, Rashaad Newsome, Alicia Piller, Clare Rojas, Svetlana Shigroff, Laurie Steelink, Lily Stockman.
California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold is co-organized by guest curators Elizabeth Armstrong, Essence Harden, and Gilbert Vicario, with support from the entire OCMA staff.