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OCMA to present monumental, commissioned sculpture by Sanford Biggers at October 8 opening

The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) announced plans to present a monumental outdoor sculpture by artist Sanford Biggers when the museum opens on October 8 at its new home on the campus of Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The 24-foot-wide, 16-foot-tall multimedia sculpture, Of many waters…(2022), has been commissioned for the Sculpture Terrace of OCMA’s new building, designed by Morphosis under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne and Partner-in-Charge Brandon Welling and will remain on view through February 5, 2023. The artist will be honored at the museum’s Opening Gala on October 1. 

 According to Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director of OCMA, “I’ve been lucky enough to work with Sanford Biggers starting early on in his career, having curated his first museum solo exhibition, Psychic Windows, at the UC Berkley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in 2002 and I continue to admire his poignant work. Curating his large-scale sculpture to welcome visitors to OCMA’s stunning new space has been incredibly meaningful for me and I can’t wait to share his work with the public and to honor Sanford at the Gala to kick off our opening celebrations.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be honored by OCMA this year, and excited to collaborate with the OCMA community in the unveiling of my latest monumental sculpture Of many waters…which combines my interest in classical sculpture and American quilt making,” said Biggers.

OCMA opening sculpture

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of OCMA

A rendering of OCMA’s “Of many waters…(2002)” outdoor sculpture

 Of many waters…, is a site-responsive, interactive public artwork that will activate the open space of the museum’s upper terrace. The work depicts a form that combines an archetype of a European reclining male figure with a 19th century Baule double-face mask made from metal sequins. Biggers patchworks two distinct bodies of work – the artist’s ongoing Chimera and Shimmer series – into a new form that the artist considers “objects for a future ethnography,” encouraging historical objects to be studied, researched and continuously reconsidered. In addition to the complex networks of historical references that course through this work, the artist traces connections to antiquity, non-Western cultures and traditions, including Buddhism’s sacred geometry. 

 The Opening Gala is chaired by Jennifer Segerstrom and co-chaired by Lisa Merage alongside the Gala Executive Committee and Gala Ambassador Committee members. The second annual gala held at the new site will have guests celebrating in style with a suggested dress of “Utopian Black Tie” and welcome back Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher and DJ Dylan Regan with catering this year provided by Untitled Events. OCMA’s Opening Gala is presented by lead sponsor South Coast Plaza.

This year’s gala will kick off a weeklong roster of events leading up to OCMA’s public opening in its new home. Proceeds from OCMA’s Opening Gala will benefit the museum at the time of its grand opening including funding innovative exhibitions, building on OCMA’s noted collection and enabling educational programming. In 2021, the first annual gala at the new site, Art Sense, sold out and raised $1 million for the museum and its operations, significantly increasing past gala net revenue.

In addition to the installation of Biggers’ work, OCMA will open with the return of the California Biennial, an exploration of the richness of the state’s expansive and diverse creative communities. Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World) will elaborate on a groundbreaking 1978 exhibition of his work at OCMA (then known as the Newport Harbor Art Museum), examining five decades of Eversley’s career and the technical innovation employed in his work with cast polyester resin, the crux of his practice. Peter Walker: Minimalist Landscape focuses on the work of the highly regarded landscape architect, most recognized for co-designing the National 9/11 Memorial and his history of collaboration with the Segerstrom Family since the 1970s and design for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. 13 Women will feature the work of female artists from the museum’s collection, curated by Heidi Zuckerman, to honor the 13 women who founded the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, OCMA’s predecessor institution, 60 years ago.

For more information on OCMA, visit https://ocma.art.

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