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The Orange County Museum of Art champions and interprets the art and culture of our time for a diverse and changing community. The museum is guided by the conviction that exhibitions and programs should link historical and contemporary art, bridge local and global cultures, and inspire the sense of inquiry, creativity, and imagination within all people.
The Orange County Museum of Art is the premier visual arts organization in Orange County, California, serving a population of nearly three million residents in one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country. Critically acclaimed exhibitions such as Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, together with the Orange Lounge at South Coast Plaza, draw more than 80,000 visitors annually. Some 15,000 children and adults participate in award winning education programs. The museum's collection comprises nearly 5,000 objects, with a concentration on the art of California from the early 20th century to present.
Originally incorporated in 1918 as the Laguna Beach Art Association, the museum grew, expanded its facilities in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa into nationally recognized programs, and in 1996 took the name Orange County Museum of Art. The museum is especially noted for organizing important exhibitions of contemporary art, including the first surveys of Vija Celmins (1980), Chris Burden (1988), and Tony Cragg (1990), as well as major exhibitions of work by Lari Pittman (1983), Gunther Forg (1989), Charles Ray (1990), Guillermo Kuitca (1992), Bill Viola (1997), and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle (2003). Thematic exhibitions of contemporary art have ranged from Objectives: The New Sculpture (1990) which presented the work of Grenville Davey, Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Annette Lemieux, Juan Munoz, Julian Opie, and Haim Steinbach to Girls' Night Out (2003), which presented work by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Elina Brotherus, Dorit Cypis, Rineke Dijkstra, Katy Grannan, Sarah Jones, Kelly Nipper, Daniela Rossell, Shirana Shahbazi, and Salla Tykka.
In 1984 the Museum launched the California Biennial, which has grown to become the premier exhibition for emerging artists in the state. The museum has co-organized exhibitions with the Renaissance Society, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Grey Art Gallery, and its exhibitions have traveled to more than 20 museums here and abroad over the last decade.
In addition to its significant contributions to the field of contemporary art, the museum has also organized and hosted important exhibitions of modern art and design such as Edvard Munch: Expressionist Paintings, 1900-1940 (1983), The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism: Works on Paper, 1938-1948 (1986), The Figurative Fifties: New York Figurative Expressionism (1988), Edward Hopper: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art (1991), American Modern, 1925-1940: Design for a New Age (2001), Light Screens: The Leaded Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright (2003), and Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (2004).
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