LOS ANGELES — In a world where art seems to consist primarily of hyper-conceptual M.F.A. verbiage, it’s a relief to go to a museum show and actually have something to see. The California-Pacific Triennial, now on view at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) in Newport Beach, California, definitely offers a feast for the eyes: paintings, video, light and sound installations, embroideries, synthetic skeletons, dead roses, a pop interpretation of Bernini (complete with Truck Nutz) and stoneware sculptures of little girls squatting in ways that are as innocent as they are bawdy.
The show was organized by curator Dan Cameron, the man behind Prospect New Orleans. It represents a re-launch of the old California Biennial, which has been around since 1984. Now held every three years, the survey has expanded its scope beyond California to include the entire Pacific Rim. The result: a lot of energy and some new names.
The exhibition offers a lot to see — so much that it is impossible for me to offer a coherent opinion based on a 90-minute press preview. Certainly, some of the usual biennial fare is on display (artists recontextualizing stuff), but a quick first-look reveals a deep interest in politics, the surreal and popular culture. This is definitely a show I’m going to go back to.
Korakrit Arunanondchai, Meriem Bennani, Nicole Eisenman, and Nicholas Galanin say that the museum has failed to adequately respond to the Warren Kanders controversy. Following the announcement, Eddie Arroyo, Christine Sun Kim, Agustina Woodgate, and Forensic Architecture announced their withdrawal.