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 (temporary)
TypeContemporary art museum
DirectorHeidi Zuckerman[1]


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.[2] 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.[3] In 1997, the museum was remodeled and renamed the Orange County Museum of Art.

OCMA 2021: future museum siteEdit

On May 31, 2018, officials unveiled the design for the museum’s new building at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa created by Morphosis. The sale of the former Newport Beach site was announced on May 15, 2018.[4]

Groundbreaking for the three-story building took place in September 2019,[5] 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.[6] The structure was topped out on October 6, 2020.[7]

Temporary spaceEdit

OCMA opened its temporary space at South Coast Village on October 3, 2018 which has served as its interim home during the construction of the permanent Segerstrom Center facility. Known as OCMA Expand Santa Ana (stylized as OCMAEXPAND-SANTA ANA), the site features exhibition seasons of approximately six months each in duration.[8] The museum was temporarily closed on March 14, 2020 in accordance with quarantine efforts in response to the COVID-19 breakout in the United States.[9] The facility was once again shuttered on November 16, 2020[10] admist what local health officials described as a "second wave" of the virus in Orange County.[11] The museum originally announced that the seasons would continue through at least March 2021;[8] however, COVID-19 related delays have made the future timeline of the temporary site unclear.


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).[12] 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;[12] 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;[13] and State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970, presenting an in-depth study of California artists in the 1960s and 1970s.[12]

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),[14] 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),[15] and Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin, and Florence Miller Pierce (2009).[16]

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.[17] 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);[18] 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.[19]

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.[19]


  1. ^ Cheng, Scarlet (January 15, 2021). "Orange County Museum of Art names Heidi Zuckerman as director". The Art Newspaper. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  2. ^ Marin, Pamela (June 4, 1987). "Newport Harbor Art Museum Hails Founders". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  3. ^ Curtis, Cathy (October 5, 1998). "On a Cultural Cusp". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Museum Site Project Plans Scaled Down | Orange County Business Journal". Retrieved 2018-05-31.[verification needed]
  5. ^ Pinho, Faith E. (September 24, 2019). "Orange County Museum of Art breaks ground on new home in Costa Mesa". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Vankin, Deborah (May 31, 2018). "Thom Mayne design unveiled for future home of Orange County Museum of Art". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Ludwig, Ashley (October 7, 2020). "Orange County Museum Of Art Tops Out, Raises Over $53 Million". Patch Newport Beach-Corona Del Mar. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "California's Orange County Museum of Art Launches Temporary Space". Art Forum. October 10, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  9. ^ "OCMA". Twitter. March 13, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "OCMA". Twitter. November 16, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  11. ^ Custodio, Spencer (November 10, 2020). "Second Coronavirus Wave Hits Orange County". Voice of OC. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c "History". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2009-10-09.[verification needed]
  13. ^ Karen Jacobsen, Girls’ Night Out: Exhibition Catalogue, 2003. Orange County Museum of Art[verification needed]
  14. ^ "About OCMA". Retrieved 13 August 2015.[verification needed]
  15. ^ Haithman, Diane (May 30, 2008). "Museum Curators Laud 'Cool', 'Wack!'". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Knight, Christopher (June 23, 2009). "Art Review". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Knight, Christopher (July 5, 2013). "Review: A modern Silk Road passes through OCMA's Pacific Rim show". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Janet Jenkins, Exhibition Itinerary, 2007 Orange County Museum of Art[verification needed]
  19. ^ 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