Alissa Walker’s Guide to Long Beach/Orange County Focus Weekend

Posted on: November 30th, 2011

Don’t let the holiday season slow you down! You’ve still got artists to meet, museums to conquer, neighborhoods to explore. This weekend’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 focus is swinging down to Orange County and Long Beach. Your somewhat ragged yet still resilient tour guide Alissa Walker has surveyed the region to pass along the best recommendations to you. Here’s what’s happening December 3 in the OC and December 4 in the LBC.

Shop and Gawk: Kill two birds with one stone: Get your holiday shopping done while you immerse yourself in culture. On Saturday, December 3 shuttle buses to five Orange County institutions—Chapman University’s Guggenheim Gallery, the Laguna Art Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, and the University Art Gallery at UCI—will be leaving from South Coast Plaza, Southern California’s best mall. Plus, all five of the featured OC museums will be offering free or half-priced admission, so you’ll have a little extra cash in your pocket when you load up on stocking stuffers upon your return. Download the PDF for the bus schedule.

Take a Public Art Walk: At the Penthouse Gallery in South Coast Plaza, On Display in Orange County: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture reveals how curators and artists commissioned and created 13 sculptures and public art pieces that are installed in an “art corridor” between South Coast Plaza and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. On Saturday, December 3, tour the gallery, then take one of the self-guided walking tours on the plaza to view the pieces by artists like Richard Serra and Henry Moore.

Soak Up the ’70s: The Orange County Museum of Art’s show State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970 promises a fascinating look at a pivotal year for artists in Southern California. Women will be in the spotlight this weekend, with talks and performances by Ilene Segalove and Susan Mogul. And at 4:00 pm on December 3, don’t miss a double-feature screening of Susan Mogul’s Woman’s Building and Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Women/Art/Revolution.

Best Kept Secret from Michael Farmer Photography on Vimeo.

Uncover UCI’s Secrets: No one would have believed that a tiny Orange County art school would become an epicenter for contemporary art in the ’60s and ’70s. But that’s exactly what happened at the University of California at Irvine. A faculty that included superstars like Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, and Tony DeLap educated the next generation of art world greats like Chris Burden, Alexis Smith, and James Turrell. This exhibition, Best Kept Secret at the Laguna Art Museum shows work from 40 students and professors during that time.

Bus Through Long Beach: On Sunday, December 4, three Long Beach shuttles will be operating for free. Two tours start and end at CSULB’s University Art Museum, and one leaves from the Museum of Latin American Art. All Long Beach museums are free to the public on December 4, as well. Download the PDF for the Long Beach bus schedule and full listing of the day’s events.

Head South on Two Wheels: Long Beach is just a train ride away from L.A., when you take the Metro Blue Line, that is. Once you depart the train, rent a bike at the nearby Bikestation to explore one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities. All three museums—Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, and the University Art Museum at CSULB—are within easy biking distance of each other. Plan your trip at Metro.net and choose the biking option to set a route on Google Maps. Already have a bike? You can take it on the train.

Turn on Video Art: Long Beach is famous for nurturing the nascent field of video art, which burst onto the scene in the early 1970s. A visionary investment by the Long Beach Museum of Art brought filming and editing equipment to the institution, allowing artists to experiment with the new medium, and the museum eventually amassed one of the greatest video art collections in the world. Exchange and Evolution: Worldwide Video Long Beach 1974-1999 at the museum both explains the history and explores the global impact on this movement with single-channel video and installations by artists from 18 countries worldwide.

Explore an Arty Neighborhood: Long Beach’s East Village Arts District holds a treasure trove of Art Deco buildings, colorful murals, and a string of galleries. The Museum of Latin American Art forms the northeast boundary of the district, which reaches south to Ocean Boulevard and west to Long Beach Boulevard. At the end of the day, pause at District Wine for sips and sustenance.

Groove to Chicano Music: To end the weekend on a high note, take in two concerts at the Museum of Latin American Art on Sunday, December 4. Starting at 2:00 pm, curator and writer Josh Kun moderates a “musical conversation” with Chicano musician Little Willie G, followed by a performance by Rubén Guevara and the Eastside Luvers. It’s the perfect way to transition back into the work week.

Alissa Walker is a writer, a gelato-eater, and a walker in L.A. You can read more at her blog, Gelatobaby, and follow her every step at @gelatobaby