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How a $185,000 grant fund will support arts programming in Orange County

Artist Aria Dean looks through the work of another artist Fred Eversley.
Artist Aria Dean looks through the work of another artist Fred Eversley, “untitled parabolic lens.” Thousands attend Frieze 2020 in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 12, 2020.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

A portion of funds from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have reached Orange County once again.

Among 50 museums and arts organizations, Grand Central Art Center, Orange County Museum of Art and Laguna Art Museum are spring 2021 grant recipients. The funds will support administrative expenses, programs, exhibitions and curatorial research.

“We are pleased to support three exceptional institutions in Orange County,” said Rachel Bers, program director of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, in a statement. “Their programs and exhibitions provide an important platform for artists to engage with local communities, while upholding the foundation’s belief that artists have significant contributions to make to social, political and cultural conversations taking place nationally.”

TimesOC checked in with the three O.C. recipients to see what they may have planned in the near future.

Orange County Museum of Art

The Orange County Museum of Art in Santa Ana
The Orange County Museum of Art in Santa Ana is one of three Orange County museums that received the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts grant in support of visual arts programs, exhibitions and curatorial research.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The museum was awarded $60,000 to support the “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World)” exhibit, which is scheduled to open in October 2022 as one of the inaugural exhibitions in the new 53,000-square-foot museum in Costa Mesa.

Eversley’s first retrospective in California will examine five decades of his career, his role in shaping California art history and the technical innovation in his sculptures. Some of his sculptures are made out of cast-resin pieces that act as lenses or mirrors playing with color and light.

One of his early solo exhibitions took place in 1978 at OCMA, then called the Newport Harbor Art Museum. The artist is known as a key figure in the California Light and Space Movement who used his firsthand understanding as an engineer in his artwork.

Thousands attend Frieze 2020 in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2020.
Thousands attend Frieze 2020 in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2020. The photo was taken through a Fred Eversley sculpture.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

“Today at age 80, his work is collected by major museums and consistently included in noteworthy group shows,” read a statement from OCMA describing the exhibit. “Yet, unlike many of his peers, he has not received the recognition his contribution warrants.”

“A historic retrospective in California, where the work was rooted, will offer OCMA’s audiences an opportunity to examine Eversley’s role in shaping California art history and gain insight into the influence of his background as an African American man and scientist,” the statement reads. “Eversley’s artistic career serves as a unique case study in examining the influence of technology on Californian sculptures starting in the 1960s and how these works inspired deepened awareness of perceptual experiences and challenged ideas about what art could be.”

Grand Central Art Center

The Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana
The Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana is one of three Orange County museums that received the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts grant in support of visual arts programs, exhibitions and curatorial research.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Over two years, the center will receive $100,000 to support its artist-in-residence program. This marks the third time the foundation awarded the center, which is partnered with Santa Ana and Cal State Fullerton.

According to Director and Chief Curator John Spiak, the grant will go toward the research and project developments of upcoming artists-in-residence Alicia Rojas, Carlee Fernandez, Kelley-Ann Lindo, Shaun Leonardo and Jasmin Mara López. The center paused some of its programming due to the coronavirus pandemic but plans to continue projects with artists including Yumi Janairo Roth, Lexa Walsh, Susy Bielak and Fred Schmalz, Glenda Leon, Pablo Helguera to name a few.

Some of the artists have Cal State Fullerton associations. Fernandez is a 1997 fine arts alumna. López will be working on a film about a current Cal State Fullerton student Gilbert Anthony Romero and Roth’s project features alumnus Erik Argote as a sign spinner.

“GCAC’s residencies develop by believing that an actual creative process should be fluid and porous, not confined or restricted by limitations and preconceived notions placed upon it from the onset,” wrote Spiak via email. “The process should be allowed to roam freely, providing opportunities for exchange, discovery and influence to occur organically.”

Some past artists in residence, such as Sarah Rafael Garcia and Sara Guerrero, are engaged in O.C.-based arts programming outside of GCAC and the foundation.

The center is set to reopen with new exhibitions in early September.

Laguna Art Museum

The Laguna Art Museum
The Laguna Art Museum is one of three Orange County museums that received the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts grant in support of visual arts programs, exhibitions and curatorial research.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The museum, which reopened in March, received $25,000 for its curatorial research fellowship featuring Sharrissa Iqbal and Michael Duncan.

Former Executive Director Malcolm Warner and UC Irvine Professor Cécile Whiting chose Iqbal and Duncan to curate “Particles and Waves: Southern California Abstraction and Modern Physics, 1945 to 1980,” which will examine how modern physics impacted abstract art in postwar Southern California.

The exhibit is a collaboration with the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative “Art x Science x LA” set to open in 2024 with many concurrent exhibitions, performances, publications and other programming.

Iqbal and Duncan will complete extensive research, which includes interviews and artist studio visits, to write essays and catalogue entries for the exhibit publication. Iqbal will travel to Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Taos and Berlin. Duncan will travel to Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco and Oakland.

“This exhibition offers an exciting opportunity to explore the interrelated histories of scientific research and artistic experimentation in Southern California,” Iqbal said in January.

“After World War II, a wide range of artists in and around Los Angeles produced visually abstract artworks concerned with scientific theories, mathematical models and engineered technologies,” Iqbal said. “By bringing together a vibrant intersection of non-figurative artworks influenced by modern physics, ‘Particles and Waves’ will shed new light on the history of artistic abstraction in the region.”

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Updates

11:56 a.m. July 9, 2021: This article was updated with additional information.


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