Fertile Ground at the Oakland Museum of California

November 6, 2014

On view through April 12, 2015 at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is the OMCA and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) collaborative exhibition, Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California. In this show, both of these Bay Area-based institutions select from their impressive collections to present a range of ephemera and works that constellate four important art moments in California history. As described by the OMCA website, the communities highlighted are: The circle of artists who worked with and were influenced by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in San Francisco in the 1930s; the legendary painters and photographers associated with the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute) in the 1940s and 1950s, including Mark Rothko, Richard Diebenkorn, and Imogen Cunningham; the free-spirited faculty and students at UC Davis in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Wayne Thiebaud, William T. Wiley, and Bruce Nauman; and the streetwise, uncompromisingly idealistic artists at the center of a vibrant new Mission scene that took root in the 1990s through the present, including Barry McGee and Chris Johanson. Exiting the show, there is a section dedicated to artists admiring other artists—portraits and letters underscore the liveliness and connection amongst the Bay Area and California creative community. This excellent show emphasizes the strengths of  both the OMCA and SFMoMA collections, and reminds us that these California artists and institutions are an important part of a local and international art historical legacy.

Installation of Fertile Ground Art and Community in California at the Oakland Museum of California. Image: Oakland Museum of California website


Another installation view of Fertile Ground Art and Community in California at the Oakland Museum of California.