LAGUNA BEACH, CALIFORNIA.- The OsCene: Contemporary Art and Culture in OC, November 7, 2004 to February 27, 2005, is a survey exhibition of Orange County artists working in all media including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, multi-media installations, video/film, sound/music, architecture, fashion, and tattoo art. By emphasizing the often underestimated art of the immediate area, The OsCene (pronounced o-seen) serves as a counterpoint to the Orange County Museum of Art's broader themed 2004 California Biennial that runs concurrently with The OsCene.
In fact, it has been over twenty years since a survey exhibition of contemporary art in Orange County has been organized by a museum (the last major effort being done by Newport Harbor Art Museum in 1979). Tremendous growth and change have occurred both to the art scene and culture in Orange County during this period. Consider these facts: there are now more people per square foot in Orange County than in Los Angeles; there has been a substantial increase in contemporary art centers, galleries, and dedicated artists residences; art departments at OC's colleges and universities have grown dramatically; cities like Santa Ana and Laguna Beach are increasingly becoming known and are marketing themselves as world-wide art destinations; Orange County has an umbrella arts organization, Arts Orange County, that partly serves to focus and highlight the arts here; and OC also sports the most active chapter of The Business Committee for the Arts, the national organization which recognizes and encourages corporate support of the arts. In addition, there is now a weekly periodical, the OC Weekly, which pulls together the art sprawl of OC each week, not to mention several magazines, Coast and Riviera, which devote large sections to the exhibitions and artist's of OC.
So, how good is the art that is being made in Orange County? The OsCene attempts to answer this question with its survey exhibition drawn from over 400 artists who submitted work in an open call.
The curatorial team includes Tyler Stallings, Laguna Art Museum chief curator; Jacqueline Bunge, Laguna Art Museum curatorial assistant; Keiko Beatie, guest curator of film; and Tim Schwab, guest curator of music. The exhibition has been organized by Laguna Art Museum.