Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two Spaces for Art

Visited two regional museums on the same day, resulting in an interesting comparison.
The Orange County Museum has a great website. I’d been to its digital annex, in an upscale shopping center (so OC), but never to the main museum. It was a letdown: dingy and mazelike, not really worth the $10 entry fee. It’s sandwiched between a mall and several freeways.
The exhibition, “2008 California Biennial” (artists I’d mostly not heard of), was minimal, dark, trash-like, and obscure. Not really how I think of California artists, which is light, colorful, funny or sardonic, slick, and pop influenced. The only piece that really captivated me was Kara Tanaka’s spinning silk skirt (you can see here), referencing Marilyn Monroe’s famous cool-down.
The Oceanside Museum, on the other hand, is a wonderful space—light and easy to navigate. It combines two buildings, an older one by Irving Gill and a more contemporary one by Frederick Fisher. The expansion is very successful. The exhibition was quilts, not really my thing, but well hung. I’m looking forward to returning again to this space.

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