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Alien She / Fred Tomaselli: The Times / Misappropriations: New Acquisitions

Run time: – May 24, 2015

Written and Photographed by: Kim Conlan

Orange County Museum of Art of Newport Beach, open since 1962, is tucked away just outside of the area of the renowned Fashion Island shopping center. You can’t help but notice how all of the buildings in view are pristine structures with well-manicured landscapes. Far from the DIY, rough around the edges, hand-made mentality of the artists who are on display inside. Come here to witness the work of some of the greatest feminist movement pioneers from the last 20 years.

The museum is buzzing with life for these exhibits. Many people of different age, gender, background, and style are seen wandering from exhibit to exhibit. There is a room with a wall completely covered in bright flyers, posted in a scattered manner, adorned with advertisements for concerts, conventions and invitations for word-of-mouth Riot Grrrl meetings. On the opposite wall, racks are filled with self-published zines from the last 24 years, each concerned with its personalized topics, but all created with the same intent. These small booklets (as well as the rest of Alien She exhibit) are meant to display the feminine mind as it struggles to find an empowered identity in an environment of sexism, racism and homophobia. The exhibit inspires women and men to embrace a new style of culture. A culture that is seeped in DIY ethics, collaboration in community, and a strong sense of value in resistance through creation. This idea extended its way from the Northwest down to Southern California and eventually across the country.

The next gallery worth checking out is titled, Misappropriations: New Acquisitions. In this area, the formats of artwork hold a similar Riot Grrrl theme of breaking the perceptions of a classical form of art and lifestyle. This new style of media is depicted in the form of a turntable covered in glitter with a platter spinning without producing sound, a mangled fridge that appeared to have a canon ball shot through it and a wall of photographic portraits of teens smoking cigarettes aligned side by side, among other things.

Inside Fred Tomaselli: The Times, each piece is organized in a simple manner, with identical frames hanging side-by-side in rows, or set in various symmetrical patterns, with a few larger resin on wood pieces hanging solo on a few walls to split up the flow. Upon closer inspection, the refined but satirical style of Fred Tomaselli’s artwork where he adapts the images of cover articles is incredibly intriguing. Moving and powerful in his manipulation, Tomaselli’s ability to stir the soul is the perfect conclusion to an inspirational day at the Orange County Museum of Art.

Orange County Museum of Art
850 San Clemente Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660