News Register for our weekly news digest here.

The new Orange County Museum of Art. Image: Morphosis.
The new Orange County Museum of Art. Image: Morphosis.

Orange County Museum of Art Nears Completion, Reveals Plan to Relaunch California Biennial

With construction of the brand-new $93 million Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) museum reported to be 75 percent complete less than two years after the project’s September 2019 groundbreaking, the Costa Mesa, California, institution has announced its plan to open to the public October 8, 2022. The California Biennial, being relaunched following a Covid-19-induced hiatus, will serve as the museum’s inaugural exhibition.

Designed by Morphosis, the architecture and design firm founded by Pritkzer Prize winner Thom Maybe, OCMA’s new Segerstrom Center for the Arts is anchored by an open public plaza and comprises 53,000 square feet, including 10,000 square feet of green space. Some 25,000 square feet is flexible exhibition space, nearly double the amount available to the museum at its old Newport Beach digs, and allowing for work to be shown outdoors as well as in.

“During Covid, there was this idea that people may never go back inside together again,” OCMA director Heidi Zuckerman told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t think that’s going to happen now. But institutions that have the ability to allow people to be in this kind of hybrid indoor-outdoor space, I think, will be the most successful over time. It’s about what a museum can be for the twenty-first century.”

The California Biennial, established in 1984 and last held in 2010 (with California-Pacific Triennials in 2013 and 2017), has been a consistently popular draw over the years. The 2022 iteration will be curated by independent curators Elizabeth Armstrong and Essence Harden, and Gilbert Vicario, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Phoenix Art Museum. 

“California has long been a wellspring of innovation and creativity,” noted Zuckerman in a statement, “and CB22 once again gives us an opportunity to explore the richness of the state’s expansive and diverse creative communities.”