Orange County Museum of Art

The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) is a modern and contemporary art museum presently operating in a temporary space at South Coast Plaza Village in Santa Ana, California. The museum's collection comprises more than 4,500 objects, with a concentration on the art of California and the Pacific Rim from the early 20th century to present. Exhibits include traditional paintings, sculptures and photography, as well as new media in the form of video, digital and installation art.

Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA)
OCMA new logo.jpg
Established1962 (as Balboa Pavilion Gallery)
1968 (Newport Art Museum)
1996 (OCMA)
Location1661 Sunflower Ave, Santa Ana, California
TypeContemporary art museum
DirectorSarah Jesse (interim)


The museum was founded in 1962 as the Balboa Pavilion Gallery by 13 women who rented space in the Balboa Pavilion building in order to exhibit modern and contemporary art.[1] By 1968 the institution became known as the Newport Harbor Art Museum, and in 1972 moved to a nearby, larger location. In 1977 the museum opened its doors in Newport Beach on San Clemente Drive in Fashion Island.[2] In 1997, the museum was remodeled and renamed the Orange County Museum of Art.

OCMA 2021: future museum siteEdit

A rendering of the terrace and plaza entrance.
A rendering of the entry to the new OCMA.

On May 31, 2018, the museum unveiled the design for the museum’s new building at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, created by Morphosis, the global architecture and design firm led by Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne.

Groundbreaking for the three-story building took place in September 2019,[3] with a projected opening in 2022. With nearly 25,000 square feet of exhibition galleries—approximately 50 percent more than in the current location—the new 52,000-square-foot museum will allow OCMA to organize major special exhibitions alongside spacious installations from its collection. It will also feature an additional 10,000 square feet for education programs, performances, and public gatherings, and will include administrative offices, a gift shop, and a café.[4] The sale of the Newport Beach site was announced on May 15, 2018.[5]

A rendering of the plaza with evening festivities at the new OCMA.

OCMA Expand: 2018-2021 temporary spaceEdit

A rendering of the atrium inside of the new OCMA.

OCMA opened its temporary space at South Coast Village on October 3, 2018 which will serve as its interim home while it constructs its new building at Segerstrom Center. Known as OCMAEXPAND-SANTA ANA, the museum will feature exhibition seasons of approximately six months each in duration. These seasons will continue through December 2021.  


Exhibition historyEdit

The Orange County Museum of Art has organized 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), Inigo Manglano-Ovalle (2003), Catherine Opie (2006), Mary Heilmann (2007), and Jack Goldstein(2012).[6] 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 Lemieus, Juan Muñoz, Julian Opie, and Haim Steinbach;[6] 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;[7] and State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970, presenting an in-depth study of California artists in the 1960s and 1970s.[6]

The museum has also organized and hosted 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),[8] American Modern, 1925-1940: Design for a New Age (2001), Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (2004), Villa America: American Moderns 1900-1950 (2005), Birth of the Cool: Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury (2007),[9] and Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin, and Florence Miller Pierce (2009).[10]

In 1984 the Museum launched the California Biennial, focusing on emerging artists in the state. In 2013, that program evolved into the California-Pacific Triennial, the first on-going exhibition in the Western Hemisphere devoted to contemporary art from around the Pacific Rim.[11] 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 30 museums throughout the United States and in Europe. These projects include Kutlug Ataman: Paradise (2007);[12] Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone (2012); Jack Goldstein x 10,000 (2012); and Richard Jackson: Ain’t Painting a Pain (2013).

Collection historyEdit

The museum’s major holdings are California-based, highlighting such movements as Early and Mid-Century Modernism, Bay Area Figuration, Assemblage, California Light and Space, Pop Art, Minimalism, and Installation Art. Prominently featured are works by John Baldessari, Elmer Bischoff, Jessica Bronson, Chris Burden, Vija Celmins, Bruce Conner, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Irwin, Helen Lundeberg, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, John McCracken, John McLaughlin, Catherine Opie, Alan Rath, Charles Ray, Edward Ruscha, and Bill Viola.[13]

The Museum’s international holdings are a growing area of the collection, featuring work by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Lee Bul, Katy Grannan, Joseph Grigely, Glenn Ligon, Christian Marclay, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Marjetica Potrc, David Reed, Daniela Rossell, and Lorna Simpson.[13]


  1. ^ Marin, Pamela (June 4, 1987). "Newport Harbor Art Museum Hails Founders". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  2. ^ Curtis, Cathy (October 5, 1998). "On a Cultural Cusp". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  3. ^ Faith E. Pinho (September 24, 2019), Orange County Museum of Art breaks ground on new home in Costa Mesa Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Vankin, Deborah. "Thom Mayne design unveiled for future home of Orange County Museum of Art". Retrieved 2018-05-31.[verification needed]
  5. ^ "Museum Site Project Plans Scaled Down | Orange County Business Journal". Retrieved 2018-05-31.[verification needed]
  6. ^ a b c "History". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2009-10-09.[verification needed]
  7. ^ Karen Jacobsen, Girls’ Night Out: Exhibition Catalogue, 2003. Orange County Museum of Art[verification needed]
  8. ^ "About OCMA". Retrieved 13 August 2015.[verification needed]
  9. ^ Diane Haithman, “Museum Curators Laud ‘Cool’, ‘Wack!’ “ May 30, 2008 LA Times[verification needed]
  10. ^ Christopher Knight, “Desert Paths” June 23, 2009 LA Times[verification needed]
  11. ^ Christopher Knight, “A Modern Silk Road” July 5, 2013 LA Times[verification needed]
  12. ^ Janet Jenkins, Exhibition Itinerary, 2007 Orange County Museum of Art[verification needed]
  13. ^ a b "Collection". Archived from the original on 24 September 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2015.[verification needed]

External linksEdit

Orange County Museum of Art

Coordinates: 33°37′18″N 117°52′41″W / 33.6218°N 117.8781°W / 33.6218; -117.8781