The Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach hosts a pair of exhibitions Feb. 25 – May 24, 2015, that explore the groundbreaking artwork of “Alien She,” the first exhibition highlighting the lasting impact of the pioneering punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl on today’s artists and cultural producers, and “Fred Tomaselli: The Times,” the first West Coast museum exhibition dedicated to artist Fred Tomaselli.
The exhibition focuses on seven contemporary artists working in a wide range of disciplines, including visual art, music, documentary film, new media, writing and performance, and provides a view into the passion and diversity of the original Riot Grrrl movement.
With approximately 900 historical and contemporary objects, the exhibition includes sculptures, photographs, videos, artist publications and drawings, as well as self-published zines and hand-designed posters from institutions and private archives worldwide.
“Orange County has a long history in supporting progressive culture,” said OCMA Director and CEO Todd D. Smith.
“From the first days of this institution in 1962, audiences have embraced art that was new, sometimes challenging, and generally thought provoking. This was true in the 1990s, when the Riot Grrrl movement flourished in Southern California. I am pleased that the museum is able to showcase the movement’s contributions as we consider its impact two decades later.”
Formed in reaction to sexism, racism, and homophobia in the punk music scene and in the culture at large, Riot Grrrl emerged in the early 1990s and inspired many people around the world to pursue socially and politically progressive careers as artists, activists, authors, and educators.
This self-organized network made up of teenagers and twenty-somethings reached one another through various platforms, such as letters, zines, local meetings, regional conferences, homemade videos, and later, chat rooms, listservs and message boards.
Emphasizing female and youth empowerment, collaborative organization, creative resistance, and DIY ethics, Riot Grrrl helped a new generation to become active feminists who created their own culture and communities to reflect their values and experiences.
“Riot Grrrl fostered community, action and creation,” exhibition curators Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss said. “This exhibition provides a view into the passion and diversity of the original Riot Grrrl movement and highlights how these ideas have broadened, evolved and mutated in the work of contemporary artists.”
The artists highlighted in Alien She work in multiple disciplines, such as sculpture, installation, video, documentary film, photography, drawing, printmaking, new media, social practice, curation, music, writing, and performance – a reflection of the movement’s artistic diversity and mutability.
Fred Tomaselli: The Times
Born in Southern California and a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, Fred Tomaselli now lives and works in New York, where he has built a reputation for his vibrant and intricate painting technique.
“Fred Tomaselli: The Times” highlights a recent and extensive body of work adapting cover photos of The New York Times daily papers, echoing the absurdity of endless news cycles, and occasionally commenting on the stories’ contents.
In addition, OCMA is presenting a selection of his collage and resin paintings; many are large scale and all capture the extreme attention to detail for which the artist is renowned.
According to OCMA Chief Curator Dan Cameron, “As a native son of Orange County, Fred Tomaselli brings qualities of invention and humor to his art that I think our public is particularly well equipped to appreciate.”
Beginning in 2005, Tomaselli developed a body of works on paper that transform the front page of The New York Times with gouache and collage. The focus of this exhibition of approximately 100 works, Tomaselli’s surreal compositions are ruminations on the absurdity of news cycles and provide him a space to respond to a variety of issues—from regional anecdotes to global crises.
A newspaper’s front page records in the present tense what will eventually become history. It orients the public’s attention to pressing actions—be they individual, political, or natural. Tomaselli‘s new works reflect and reinvent the news through complexly layered collages superimposed onto recent cover illustrations in The New York Times. These collage-paintings present unseen connections, rearrange realities, and reveal relationships of images and ideas across time and space.
For additional information, call (949) 759-1122 or visit ocma.net.