Last night was the OCCCA@40 online reception and panel discussion! The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art is celebrating its 40th anniversary as one of California’s leading alternative art spaces. A pandemic can’t stop this incredible milestone!
From OCCCA’s website: “Founded in 1980, located in Santa Ana’s Artist Village, OCCCA is a non-profit, 501 (3) c corporation, dedicated to the pursuit of professional excellence in the arts, a constantly changing showcase for artists, educators, and community activists. OCCCA recognizes the importance of social engagement, global networking, intellectual exchange, critical dialogue, and the collaborative process. OCCCA is a think-tank for contemporary art, an incubator of new ideas. The independent artists who operate OCCCA are fond of unfettered experimentation, unafraid of grappling with difficult issues. OCCCA presents exhibitions of contemporary art, along with concerts, performances, art classes, symposiums, and publications. During its thirty-seven year history as an artist-run ‘alternative space,’ OCCCA has exhibited the work of an impressive roster of artists and curators. Participants from all over the world apply to OCCCA’s legendary open calls for art, and fly in from distant cities to attend opening night festivities.”
As an artist for twenty years, I’m grateful for every opportunity. At the OCCCA, I’ve participated in 4 exhibitions: On, of, and About Paper (2008), ART AS PROTEST (2017), IT’S TIME (2018), and OCCCA@40 (2020). The OCCCA provides a consistent and meaningful platform for critical thinking.
My most memorable moment at the OCCCA was the ART AS PROTEST exhibition! Tyler Stallings was juror (Artistic Director at Culver Center of the Arts & Director at Sweeney Art Gallery at University of California, Riverside). The opening was packed with numerous visitors the entire evening with genuine energy and buzz. It felt and was the right place to be. Tyler Stallings juried the exhibit from over 500 pieces of art. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Stallings along with participating artists such as Gina M., Elon Schoenholz, and James Berson.
From Stallings’ ART AS PROTEST statement: “This occurs when the materiality of art, with its physical presence in the world, acts as a small island of respite for reimagining possibilities within the ephemeral, untouchable flows of capital and information that just do not stop. In this dystopian world that I describe here, art becomes a form of science fictional or speculative technology, creating portals to other imaginaries. Hopefully, enough of these islands will merge in the future and become a continent dominated by the free flow of imagination. In this present time, the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art’s ‘Art As Protest’ is one such island of loud voices.”
Currently, my artwork CORONAVIRUS ALERT SYSTEM FAILURE is part of the online OCCCA@40 exhibition. Description: My art practice investigates symbols of influence and power that impact perception. COVID-19 ravages across America while an incompetent president plays Russian roulette with the lives of citizens. The administration’s response is to confiscate PPE (personal protective equipment), promote pseudoscience, gaslight truth, and deflect responsibility. A custom safety sign has been repurposed with the words CORONAVIRUS ALERT SYSTEM FAILURE. Pandemic mitigation becomes decimated under a broken system built on incompetence and greed.
OCCCA has been a reliable beacon through good and bad times. Artists have been fortunate to exhibit artworks that challenge and reflect the truths of the world. Here’s to forty more years!
OCCCA@40 online exhibition, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA, June 6 – July 25, 2020.
View the OCCCA@40 exhibition:
IT’S TIME blog: