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OMCA Staff Gallery Favorites

Herea are some of the OMCA staff picks for favorite artworks, exhibitions, and spots on campus.

Check out this list and get excited to revisit your favorites! Timed tickets are available here

Untitled, Ruth Asawa
Oak Street entrance

Ruth Asawa, Untitled, 1974. Bronze wire, copper pipe, 1.5 x 12 ft. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of the Oakland Museum Women’s Board. © Estate of Ruth Asawa

This untitled 12-foot bronze and copper wire structure was made by sculptor and artist Ruth Asawa in 1974. Asawa fused techniques of fiber art and metal sculpture into dynamic, signature forms. Her work marks the Oak Street entrance of OMCA. 

Dorothea Lange: Photography as Activism
Gallery of California Art


Dorothea Lange in Texas on the Plains, circa 1935. © The Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California, City of Oakland. Gift of Paul S. Taylor.

Experience the iconic life and work of Dorothea Lange, world-renowned documentary photographer, with an expanded section in the Gallery of California Art dedicated to her art. Learn more about photography’s power as a tool of social activism and see how Lange’s work continues to resonate with millions and inspire new generations of artists and activists.

Untitled, Barry McGee
Gallery of California Art


Barry McGee, Untitled, 2010. Acrylic, luan plywood, mixed media, 111 x 240 x 48 in. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. Art Deaccession Fund Purchase. © Barry McGee

This popular installation includes a mosaic wall constructed with multiple pieces of Luan wood and incorporates blocks of bright geometric patterns, text, and stylized faces. Barry McGee’s art can be found in museum collections around the country including MoMA, SFMOMA, and OMCA. His work was featured in OMCA’s 2018 special exhibition RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style and Wisdom. 

Black Power 
Gallery of California History

In the late 1960s, Black Power claimed self-governance, self-protection, and self-love as powerful new tools in the struggle for Black liberation. Here in Oakland, the Black Panther Party brought national attention to the Black Power struggle with bold tactics that resisted racism by protecting and nourishing oppressed communities. Explore the history of the Black Power movements in California and the Bay Area’s role in this national story inside OMCA’s Gallery of California History.

Taking Native Lands and Lives
Gallery of California History

Learn about the genocide of Native peoples in the early era of California’s statehood and the impact it continues to have on contemporary California. Unpack the ways the U.S. government prevented Native people from having legal claim to their land and the violence committed against them. Explore the ways contemporary Native people are urgently working to revitalize traditions and fight for natural resources, control of land, and sovereignty.

You are Here: California Stories on the Map
Gallery of California Natural Sciences

How are we using maps in our daily lives? Who creates these maps and what information is being included and excluded? You are Here: California Stories on the Map explores how maps are used to share ideas and information and the choices involved in these documents. Explore a diverse range of maps––from environmental surroundings and health conditions to community perspectives and creative artworks—and experience how maps can be a powerful tool to share unique points of view and imagine a better future. 

The Planet, J.B. Blunk
Outside of the Gallery of California Natural Sciences


The Planet, J. B. Blunk, 1969. Oakland Museum Founders Fund

“The Planet” has been a favorite hangout spot for school field-trippers, Friday Nights at OMCA goers, and everyone in between. The two-ton redwood sculpture created by mid-century artist J.B. Blunk in 1969 sits right outside our Gallery of California Natural Sciences. Have a seat and experience northern California’s landscape through Blunk’s eyes.

OMCA Gardens


Odell Hussey Photography

With a focus on sustainability and accessibility, OMCA’s terraced gardens facing Oakland’s Lake Merritt have been reenvisioned with new native plantings, amplifying five ecoregions of California on each level of the garden. Come by to see all that OMCA’s newly renovated gardens have to offer on your next visit! 

What OMCA fave are you most excited to see again? Comment below or tag us on social media at @oaklandmuseumca.