Morphosis Architects designed Orange County Museum of Art’s light-filled new building. PHOTO BY MIKE KELLEY
Making its grand fall debut, Orange County Museum of Art (ocma.art) unveils its sprawling new 53,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor home at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
The California Biennial 2022 exhibit highlights work from local artists, such as Alex Anderson’s “Lovely Shade Flower” (2001, earthenware, glaze and gold luster), 22 inches by 17 inches by 2 inches PHOTO: COURTESY OF ALEX ANDERSON AND SARGENT’S DAUGHTERS
An installation view of Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World). PHOTO: BY OFSTUDIO
“One of my goals throughout my career has been to put art in front of people when they are least expecting it,” says Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and director of Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA)—which celebrated its move from Newport Beach to a brand-new Costa Mesa building a Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Oct. 8. “Sometimes people feel like art is scary or ‘not for them,’ but if they encounter art unexpectedly, we might be able to capture their curiosity. … In this new central location, on one of the largest arts campuses in the country, this really can happen!”
Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom helped bring OCMA to Segerstrom Center for the Arts PHOTO: BY BRETT HILLYARD
Heidi Zuckerman serves as OCMA’s CEO and director PHOTO: BY MARK HANAUER
Since 1962, OCMA has presented exhibits of 20th and 21st century art, and amassed a collection of over 4,500 contemporary and modern works, focusing on California artists. In May 2018, OCMA revealed design plans for its new permanent home, and construction commenced in September 2019. “To have the museum on the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus was always part of Henry Segerstrom’s vision, and the Segerstrom family donated the plot of land for this purpose long ago,” says Zuckerman of the nearly 12 acres, which were donated through South Coast Plaza since 1974. The campus now includes South Coast Repertory theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, and OCMA. “With the addition of the museum—this final piece of the cultural puzzle—we now have a center that is activated during both the day and the night with exciting, inspirational programming,” adds Zuckerman.
“Of many waters...,” a commissioned sculpture by Sanford Biggers, will be displayed on OCMA’s terrace through Aug. 13, 2023 PHOTO BY: OF STUDIO
“ONE OF MY GOALS THROUGHOUT MY CAREER HAS BEEN TO PUT ART IN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE LEAST EXPECTING IT.” –HEIDI ZUCKERMAN
An installation view of 13 Women, featuring Lee Bul’s “Supernova” in the foreground and Lily Stockman’s “Driving to Landers” in the background. PHOTO BY: NATALIE MILLER
For nearly two decades, Henry’s son Anton and his wife, Jennifer Segerstrom, have helped lead a community effort to bring OCMA to Segerstrom Center for the Arts. “My mother was an artist and an early supporter of the Fine Arts Patrons of Newport Harbor—predecessor to the Newport Harbor Art Museum,” says Anton Segerstrom of the institution that became OCMA. “I vividly remember my mother taking me to a show at the Balboa Pavilion, Especially for Children, in 1965. She was a docent and my father was the museum’s first male board member.” Anton has been a board member himself since 1996, and Jennifer served as co-chair of OCMA’s opening gala. As a tribute to the couple, who are among the museum’s most significant donors, one of the exhibition pavilions is named the Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom Permanent Collection Pavilion, and a gallery within it, Avenue of the Arts Gallery, is in memory of Yvonne de Chavigny Segerstrom. Says Anton, “The opportunity for collaboration between the arts partners at SCFTA is truly unique, and will be a real gift for Orange County.”
An installation view of Sarah Cain’s site-responsive painting (2022) from the 13 Women exhibit PHOTO BY OF STUDIO
“THE OPPORTUNITY FOR COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE ARTS PARTNERS AT SCFTA IS TRULY UNIQUE, AND WILL BE A REAL GIFT FOR ORANGE COUNTY.” –ANTON SEGERSTROM
An installation view of Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World), running through Jan. 15, 2023. PHOTO BY OF STUDIO
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Th om Mayne and partner-in-charge Brandon Welling of Morphosis Architects designed the welcoming 53,000-square-foot building, whose facade features light-colored undulating bands of terra-cotta paneling. “Although it was designed before the pandemic, it was prescient,” says Zuckerman of the light- and air-filled hybrid indoor-outdoor space. “There is no hard and fast barrier between the inside and outside of our building, which was an intentional choice to convey a sense of openness and public invitation.”
Lily Stockman, “Canyon Fire” (2022, oil on linen), 84 inches by 62 inches PHOTO COURTESY OF: LILY STOCKMAN AND CHARLES MOFFETT , NEW YORK
Now double its previous size, OCMA boasts 25,000 square feet of exhibition galleries, as well as The MIND retail shop by Please Do Not Enter concept creators Emmanuel Renoird and Nicolas Libert; plant-forward cafe Verdant from chefs Ross Pangilinan and Nick Weber; and an additional 10,000 square feet for education programs, performances and public gatherings. New areas for convening include a daylit performance and education hall, a public staircase and plaza connecting the museum to SCFTA, and a spacious rooftop garden terrace for exhibits and events that comprises 70% of the building’s footprint. “The grand public staircase serves as a physical, sweeping statement of welcome,” says Zuckerman. “It was designed along with the rooftop terrace to be a core part of the museum.”
Joan Brown, “The Journey #5” (1976, enamel on canvas), 90 ½ inches by 72 ¾ inches. PHOTO COURTESY OF: THE JOAN BROWN ESTATE
Cathie Opie, “Surfer for Women” (2018, pigment print), 56 inches by 42 inches. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CATHERINE OPIE AND REGAN PROJECTS
OCMA’s Sculpture Terrace will first play host to L .A. native Sanford Biggers’ 2022 commissioned work “Of many waters...,” a 24-foot-wide-by-16-foot-tall multimedia outdoor sculpture of a reclining male figure with a d ouble-faced sequined mask, on display through Aug. 13, 2023. “I think the piece says everyone is welcome—that OCMA is a place of openness,” says Zuckerman, who curated Biggers’ first solo exhibit in Berkeley 20 years ago. As a further measure of openness, admission to OCMA will be free for 10 years thanks to a gift from Lugano Diamonds.
Mary Heilmann, “Surfing on Acid” (2005, oil on canvas), 60 inches by 48 inches PHOTO: COURTESY OF MARY HEILMANN
Sadie Barnette “Feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings” (2022, powdered graphite and colored pencil), 60 inches by 48 inches PHOTO: BY ERIC RUBY
Alongside the anticipated return of the California Biennial program, which started in 1984 and will highlight 20 artists from across the state in California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold, OCMA’s opening programming will include a survey of engineer-turned-artist Fred Eversley and a special project about Peter Walker, a leading landscape architect in the Modernist movement. “My vision for the inaugural exhibitions is ‘looking back to look forward,’” Zuckerman says. To mark the museum’s 60th anniversary, Zuckerman curated 13 Women to honor the 13 females who founded the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, OCMA’s earliest iteration. Running through Aug. 20, 2023, exhibit will present a rotation of works from the museum’s permanent collection that focus on 13 trailblazing female artists who share the same spirit of courage and vision. Says Zuckerman, “OCMA has an incredible historical legacy that will be the foundation of a new era with our permanent home that is more open, more dynamic and more ambitious than ever before.” The future is certainly bright.