Experience Art at Outstanding Local Museums

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Many of the greatest art museums in Southern California are located close to our Far West communities. The Orange County Museum of Art recently opened at its new location in Costa Mesa, just minutes from The Aspens South Coast. We put together some information on OCMA as well as a number of Southern California art museums that residents can visit.

Costa Mesa: Orange County Museum of Art

Along with its predecessor institution, the Newport Harbor Art Museum, OCMA has an established reputation as an innovative art museum with a history of actively discovering and engaging with living artists at pivotal points in their careers.

In its new permanent home located on the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus—designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Studio—OCMA will continue to champion the transformative possibilities of art.

Many current exhibits including California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold running until February 26, 2023. As part of its suite of opening exhibitions, OCMA is reviving the California Biennial. Dating back to 1984, the biennial defined the spirit of the institution for decades, exemplifying the museum’s six-decade history of presenting new developments in contemporary art while identifying emerging artists on the verge of national and international acclaim. The collection of artists reflects on California and its unique place in the popular American imagination.

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Anaheim: Bowers Memorial Museum

In October of 1992, the Bowers Museum (some six times larger than the original museum) opened its doors to a crowd of over 17,000 people. Since this highly successful reopening, the museum has presented over 150 special exhibitions from all over the world, opened six permanent galleries, and watched its membership grow to nearly 8,000 members.

A current exhibit includes Gemstone Carvings: Masterworks by Harold Van Pelt is a display of his mastery. Each work in the exhibition reflects hundreds of hours of craftsmanship. Van Pelt’s working of the stone down to paper-thin walls brings out the gorgeous natural quality and colors of agate and gives quartz the transparency of glass. Transformed by one man’s vision and skill from a solid stone to an incredibly delicate work of art, the gemstone carvings of Harold Van Pelt must be seen to be believed. The Bowers Museum is proud to welcome this collection back to Santa Ana, where it was first exhibited in 2010.

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Riverside: Riverside Art Museum

Currently, the Riverside Art Museum boasts two spacious first floor galleries, two smaller second floor galleries, the R.E. Olds Conference room which houses our printmaking presses, and a second floor Mezzanine exhibition space. A Children’s Gallery and Studio Art Classroom are also located on the second floor along with administrative offices.

A milestone exhibit is on display now.Cheech Collects weaves a story of Cheech Marin’s efforts as a passionate and laser-focused collector, exploring the making of a major collection from the first works acquired through the most recent acquisitions. This inaugural exhibition is a celebration of the foremost champion of the Chicano School of Art. The creation of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture furthers his advocacy and will continue to shape the art world’s perceptions and understanding of Chicano art. Exhibition runs through June 18, 2023.

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Los Angeles: The Broad

The Broad was founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, the museum offers free general admission and presents an active program of rotating temporary exhibitions and innovative audience engagement. The Broad is home to nearly 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is one of the world’s leading collections of postwar and contemporary art.

Two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms are in the Broad collection. Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013) is now open with reservations required in advance. Kusama’s Longing for Eternity (2017) is on view on the third floor and doesn’t require reservations.

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