OCMA biennial SoCal-focused

Daily Pilot

The Orange County Museum of Art on Thursday revealed the list of artists who will be participating in the upcoming 2010 California Biennial, as well as plans for an exhibition that explores the artistic depth of three major Golden State cities.

The exhibition to be opened in October will feature 45 contemporary artists and collaborative groups from San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

"The last biennial was very broad and it really exploded across the state," said Sarah Bancroft, an OCMA curator who was charged with selecting the artists for the show. "Rather than being broad, I'm making sure that there is a deep presentation from Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego."

Past biennial exhibitions included more artists scattered across the state and some off-site installations and projects as far away as Tijuana, she said.

Brancroft selected artists who have shown vibrancy and upcoming promise in photography, video, installation, dance, live performance, sculpture, drawing and other artistic mediums.

"I really wanted to show the diverse community, practices and approaches to art through an in-depth exhibition," she said.

More than 200 artists were considered and Bancroft visited 130 studios before selecting the final artists. Showcased will be recent work and new work exclusive to OCMA from artists such as David Adey, Eve Fowler, Drew Heitzler, Wu Tsang and Carlee Fernandez.

Many of the artists have received considerable international attention and been featured in past New York Whitney Biennials and other group and solo exhibitions worldwide, while some are on the cusp of such acclaim.

The exhibition is accompanied by a complete catalog of the artists and distributed nationwide; turning the biennial into launching point to be featured in other national and international shows, Bancroft said.

"What I like about this exhibition is that it's local, while most biennials are exhibitions on a national or international scale. This is about art in a particular region," said participating artist Heitzler, whose film and video work was featured by the Whitney Biennial and by Blum and Poe in Los Angeles.

Since OCMA's first biennial in 2002, about 40% of the museum's budget for buying new art has gone to acquiring the work of featured biennial artists, OCMA Director Dennis Szakacs said.

The museum is showing 32 works from past Biennial artists.

"This is a perfect forum to discover art from across the state," Bancroft said.

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