Past Exhibitions

2004 California Biennial

Exhibition Through January 9, 2005

Demonstrating California's increasingly influential role as an international artistic center, the Orange County Museum of Art presents the 2004 California Biennial, the largest and most ambitious Biennial at the Museum to date. 

The 2004 California Biennial showcases some of the state's most exciting emerging contemporary visual artists. As the only exhibition of its kind in California, it brings together more than 120 works by 28 individuals, including large-scale installations, sculpture, paintings, works on paper, wall drawing and photographs, as well as digital and video art. The artists work in a wide range of styles and media and represent the multi-national, multi-ethnic character of California's rich artistic environment. 

In addition to presenting several new commissions and a performance series, the 2004 California Biennial includes two artist residencies. Also, for the first time, it extends to the Orange Lounge, a new digital and video space at South Coast Plaza, where the works of three new media artists will be presented: Shirley Shor, Kota Ezawa, and Amy Franceschini. 

The California Biennial is a cornerstone of the Museum's mission to explore the art of our time for a diverse and changing community. It is the only exhibition in California that regularly takes the pulse of new art created in the state and presents work that is at the forefront of a constantly evolving art scene recognized around the world as a defining force in the field of contemporary art.

This year's artists include: 

Libby BlackMark Bradford

Marco Brambilla Brian Calvin

Sean Duffy Mark Dutcher

Simon Evans Kota Ezawa

Kim Fisher Amy Franceschini

Futurefarmers Karl Haendel

Jeffrey Inaba Glen Kaino

Soo Kim Michelle Lopez

Mads Lynnerup Malerie Marder

Kori Newkirk Ruben Ochoa

Kaz Oshiro RIGO 23

Mindy ShaperoShirley Shor

Joel TauberJosephine Taylor 

Mungo ThomsonKerry Tribe

VALDES: Peter Zellner and Jeffrey Inaba

Biennial Background and Highlights

The Orange County Museum of Art's tradition of biennial's of new art from California dates back to 1984. During the past two years, curators Elizabeth Armstrong and Irene Hofmann conducted numerous studio visits throughout California. In selecting participants for the 2004 Biennial, Armstrong and Hofmann focused on emerging artists with fresh ideas whose groundbreaking new works are reflective of the art being produced in the thriving art communities of California. 

All born in the 1960s or 1970s, the artists in the 2004 California Biennial came of age in an era defined by postmodernism. Fully engaged in the discourse of our times, their work explores issues related to global politics and identity, popular culture and the media, consumerism and youth culture, and the impact of new technologies.

Highlights of the 2004 Biennial include:

•  A new 30-foot-wide billboard by San Francisco-based artist RIGO 23 to be displayed on the Orange County Museum of Art's facade. 

•  Mungo Thompson's video The American Desert (for Chuck Jones), which splices together fragments of Road Runner cartoons drawn by Jones between 1949 and 1964 -removing everything but the scenery. 

•  Malerie Marder's recent large-scale color photographs, from a series titled Inland Empire (2004) shot in motel rooms in the suburbs an desert communites of Southern California. 

•  Painter/sculptor Libby Black's paper plaid Burberry Skateboard (2004) and rose-colored Chanel Surfboard (2004), co-opted California symbols of American excess and style. 

•  Ruben Ochoa's mobile gallery space titled Class: C (2001 - present), a 1985 Chevy panel van that has been customized into a traveling gallery space exhibiting the work of local artists (Ochoa is one of two artists-in-residence at the Orange County Museum of Art during the run of the Biennial).

•  A special presentation of Mads Lynnerup's ongoing Rock Band Project for which Lynnerup will hold auditions, form a band, rehearse, prepare publicity materials and record a CD in the month following the exhibition (Lynnerup is the second artist in residence at the Museum during the run of the Biennial).

•  Glenn Kaino's large-scale installation Simple System for Dimensional Transformation (2003). In this illogical "machine" the wings of a tiny origami crane are set in motion by a string passing through a hole in the gallery's wall connected to a series of devices - ultimately propelled by a seven foot waterwheel comprised of giant spinning dentures dipping in and out of a plastic pool of water. 

•  Joel Tauber's remarkable film Searching for the Impossible: The Flying Project (2002-3), in which the artist, suspended above the desert floor with a video camera strapped to his helmut, records and attempt at flight utilizing helium ballons (while playing the bagpipes).

Two conceptual projects presented in the 2004 California Biennial by collaborative groups VALDES (based in Los Angeles) and Futurefarmers (based in San Francisco) focus on aspects of Orange County related to urban growth.

VALDES (San Fernando Valley Institute of Design) biennial project documents the recent opening of Orange County, China - a housing development an hour's drive from Beijing which is based entirely on replicas of Southern California model homes.

Futurefarmers will participate in a public forum at the Museum and launch a website meant to encourage discussion of issues raised by the Great Part - a proposed 3,885-acre park to be located in the geographic center of Orange County.

Exhibition Catalogue

A full-color 136-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition. The publication includes an introductory essay by Elizabeth Armstrong as well as short entries on each of the Biennial artists by the curators and several additional writers: New York-based art historian Cary Levine, Los Angeles-based independent curator Kristin Chambers, and Jane Simon, Curator of Exhibitions at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The catalogue is designed by Michael Worthington in Los Angeles.

The 2004 California Biennial continues in the Orange Lounge where the works of four new media artists will be presented---Shirley Shor, Kota Ezawa, Mungo Thomson, and Amy Franceschini.


Joel Tauber , Searching for the Impossible: The Flying Project; DVD 32 minutes; Courtesy of the artist, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, and the Adamski Gallery.

Mungo Thomson, The American Desert (for Chuck Jones), 2002l; Video still, 34 min.; Collection of the Orange County Museum of Art; Museum purchase with funds provided through prior gift of Lois Outerbridge.

Shirley Shor, Xanadu, 2003 (from the series On Other Spaces); Archival print on Hahnemuehle, 35x45 in.; Courtesy of the artist.

Mads Lynnerup, Rock Band Project, Newport Beach, 2004; Exhibition Opening Gala photograph, October 9, 2004.

Exhibition Credits

The Biennial is organized by Elizabeth Armstrong, the Orange County Museum of Art's deputy director for programs and chief curator, and the Museum's curator of contemporary art, Irene Hofmann.


Presented by  Deutsche Bank

Media support provided by OC Weekly

Leadership support provided by James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati.

The 2004 California Biennial received significant funding from the Nimoy Foundation, Peter Norton Family Foundation, Pam and Jim Muzzy, and Jean and Tim Weiss.

Additional support provided by Curators' Circle, Barbara and Victor Klein, Patricia and Max Ellis, Christine and Jeff Masonek, Sandy and Harold Price, and Teddie and Michael Ray.