Press Release

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 - 10:02am
Final Weeks for Public to View Timely Exhibition Queer California: Untold Stories at Oakland Museum of California
Thought-Provoking Exhibition Closes Sunday, August 11

(OAKLAND, CA) July 31, 2019—The public will have a final opportunity to learn about the untold and under-told stories of California’s LGBTQ+ history in the Oakland Museum of California’s powerful presentation of Queer California: Untold Stories, on view through Sunday, August 11. Combining art and history, this timely exhibition lifts up under-recognized stories of transgender communities, people of color, women, indigenous communities, and others who are often overlooked in mainstream narratives.

                     

Hailed by Frieze Magazine as highlighting “vital indigenous perspectives” and “more like pilgrimage than casual museum-going” by Hyperallergic, the exhibition spans over 200 years of queer history from the state’s pre-colonial past to present. Visitors will deepen their understanding of queer identities, civil rights, and social activism through contemporary artwork, historical materials, rarely-seen artifacts, films, photographs, costumes, and more.

 

“At this very tumultuous time in our country, many marginalized communities feel that threats to their basic rights are on the rise. This exhibition is needed now more than ever not only to share messages of hope and change, but also provide a deeper understanding of the complex history and important lesser-known stories of LGBTQ+ communities in California,” said Christina Linden, Exhibition Curator. “Queer California will address issues close to the hearts of many visitors who identify as queer, as well as other visitors who have felt like outsiders in mainstream culture.”

 

The exhibition aligns important milestones in LGBTQ+ culture with untold stories, also reflecting on the increasing presence of transgender and LGBTQ+ rights in today’s news. An expansive timeline helps to ground visitors in the key moments, movements, and figures in California’s LGBTQ+ history, as well as the organizations, events, and people not often mentioned in that history. Queer California draws on histories of struggle for self-determination to help us imagine a more inclusive future.

 

In the final weeks of the exhibition, visitors can attend special late-night screenings of rare films, such as Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1989), during Friday Nights at OMCA’s Queer California Film Series. The schedule of show times and film descriptions is available at museumca.org/events.

 

Artworks in the exhibition include artists and collaborators Absolute Empress III Shirley, Chloe Aftel, Laura Aguilar, Tina Valentin Aguirre, D-L Alvarez, Steven Arnold, Gilbert Baker, Lisa Ben, Andrea Bowers, Kaucyila Brooke, Ginger Brooks-Takahashi, Craig Calderwood, Pat Campano, MCXT (Monica Canilao + Xara Thustra), Tammy Rae Carland, Cassils, Jerome Caja, Wily Chavarria, Kate Clark, Torreya Cummings, Amanda Curreri, Cyclona, Rhys Ernst, Edie Fake, Eve Fowler, L. Frank, Clay Geerdes, Rick Gerharter, James Gobel, Nicki Green, James Gruber, Barbara Hammer, Mick Hicks, William E. Jones, Lenn Keller, Young Joon Kwak, Vero Majano, DJ Brown Amy (Amy Martinez), Jaguar Mary, Helen Nestor, Yetunde Olagbaju, Kari Orvik, Augie Robles, Grace Rosario Perkins, Marlon Riggs, Nica Ross, Julio Salgado, Patrick Staff, Chuck Stallard, Eric Stanley, A.L. Steiner, Sylvester, Tina Takemoto, Wu Tsang, Chris Vargas, Lex Vaughan, and Travis Y.

 

Queer California: Untold Stories will be on view in OMCA’s Great Hall through August 11, 2019.

 

Queer California: Untold Stories is supported in part by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board. Historian and activist Susan Stryker and film historian Greg Youmans are consultants on the exhibition.

 

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS

 

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man
Great Hall

October 12, 2019–February 16, 2020
With spectacular artwork and large-scale installations from one of the most widely-celebrated cultural events in the world, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man takes over OMCA in Fall of 2019. Each year the weeklong Burning Man event attracts over 70,000 people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Participants create and build Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where experimental art installations—some ritually burned to the ground—are the centerpiece for innovators, makers, and a burgeoning artistic community. The exhibition illuminates the values of Burning Man through its guiding Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. The exhibition features many works by Bay Area artists including jewelry, costumes, “mutant” vehicles, sculptures, photography, and paintings. A companion exhibition within the gallery, City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, traces Burning Man's origins from its countercultural roots in the San Francisco Bay Area to the world-famous desert gathering it is today.

 

This immersive and multi-sensory experience will extend beyond the gallery walls into the Museum’s public spaces—including an OMCA-commissioned 40-foot-tall outdoor temple by internationally-acclaimed sculptor David Best.

 

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man is organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, No Spectators will make its final stop at OMCA after traveling to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

 

The museums especially thank colleagues from Burning Man Project, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, for their close collaboration and assistance throughout the preparation of this exhibition and tour.

 

Lead support for the exhibition was provided by Intel and Bently Foundation. Support for the exhibition's tour is provided by the C. F. Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund.

 

¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of Days of the Dead

Gallery of California Art

October 16, 2019–February 16, 2020

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of OMCA’s beloved Días de los Muertos celebration with an exhibition inspired by the Chicano activists who introduced Días de los Muertos traditions to the United States in the 1970s. ¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of Days of the Dead will honor and explore the lesser-known origins of Days of the Dead, and the ways these traditions continue to inspire social and political change today.


Visitors will encounter altars, artworks, and interactive elements that show how Chicano activists used Days of the Dead traditions to foster pride in their indigenous heritage and unify their communities. Experience a Oaxacan style ofrenda and hear first-hand stories of the Chicanos who went to Oaxaca to gather Days of the Dead traditions from elders. Honor members of the first Chicano generation and their enduring legacy through a series of colorful ofrendas created by contemporary artists, interactive features, and intergenerational conversations captured on film. Other elements—from historical objects, a mural, and a sculpture that sparked the first Days of the Dead celebrations at OMCA—will immerse viewers in the evolving identities, traditions, and artistic expressions of the Chicano community, both then and now.

 

You Are Here: California Stories on the Map

Gallery of California Natural Sciences

On view February 2, 2020

We all use maps in our everyday lives—to navigate public transportation, find places to eat, and visualize big data like weather patterns or political opinions. But have you ever considered the deeper stories maps tell us? In You Are Here: California Stories on the Map, you’ll discover there’s more to maps than meets the eye. Showcasing a diverse range of maps from Oakland, the Bay Area, and California—from environmental surroundings and health conditions to community perspectives and creative artworks—experience how maps can be a powerful tool to share unique points of view and imagine a better future. Explore new perspectives of familiar places through maps made by the community, and mark your own stories on the community map inside the exhibition.

 

Edith Heath: A Life in Clay

Gallery of California Art

June 27, 2020 – November 29, 2020

Trailblazer. Rebel. Revolutionary. Discover the story of Edith Heath, founder and designer of Heath Ceramics. Heath transformed the ceramics industry, creating dinnerware from California clay for “Sunday best” and everyday use. Driven by the power of good design, and a commitment to her craft, Heath’s vision continues to live on through her stoneware and tile over 70 years later. Durable, not delicate, simple, yet stylish, Heath Ceramics is an icon of American design.
 

ON VIEW

 

Pushing West: The Photography of Andrew J. Russell

Gallery of California Art

May 4–September 1, 2019

Travel back in time through Andrew J. Russell's epic photography of the Transcontinental Railroad’s western expansion, completed 150 years ago in 1869. Though commissioned to document the railroad and its successful development, Russell’s photography reveals the tensions between the economic and technological advances and the Railroad’s significant impact on western lands and peoples. His powerful imagery highlights the majesty of the landscape with locomotive engines set amongst vast plains and colossal mountain ranges, captured through Russell’s remarkable technique using the collodion photographic process in remote locations.  

 

In this intimate exhibition, visitors will view rare vintage and digital prints, powerful landscape and 3D images, and original collodion negatives, as well as memorabilia, ephemera, and a video demonstrating the collodion process. Learn about Russell's legacy as one of the most important photographers of the 19th century in this inspiring presentation of one of the most historic and controversial moments in American history.

 

Black Power

Gallery of California History

Ongoing

Uncover the history of the Black Power movements in California with a compelling addition to the Gallery of California History. In response to the widely-popular 2016 exhibition All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50, this new installation will illustrate the creative ways black anti-racist activists in California supported their communities and challenged the U.S. government. Focusing on the example of the Black Panther Party, Black Power will bring to light the tensions between a culturally and socially progressive California and examples of economic racism and oppression in the state. This moment in California history will be represented through historic photographs, provocative objects, iconic posters, paintings and interactive prompts that encourage visitors to take action out in the world. Learn more about the Bay Area role in this national story, and the impacts this history continues to have today.

 

Mildred Howard’s TAP: Investigation of Memory

Gallery of California Art

Through September 1, 2019

Discover Mildred Howard’s TAP: Investigation of Memory, a powerful multimedia installation that examines themes of identity, church culture, gentrification, dance, activism, and more. Born to activist parents, Howard’s family lineage and community inform much of her work. Part of OMCA’s Collection, this major artwork incorporates an antique shoe-shine stand from Oakland’s historic California Hotel, once a cultural center for the Black community, as the altar-like centerpiece, alongside white shoes and metal shoe taps arranged in a pattern covering the gallery floor. Symbolizing memories from her past and tap dance’s influence on her life, learn how Howard’s work has helped shape the narrative of activism in the Bay Area and continues to inspire artists today.

 

Take Root: Oakland Grows Food
Gallery of California Natural Sciences

Through November 2019

Unearth Oakland’s multi-layered world of food in Take Root: Oakland Grows Food, an exhibition exploring aspects of growing food in Oakland. Enjoy this hands-on exhibition with the entire family to understand what factors determine where, how, why, and what is grown throughout the city. Hear personal stories from farmers and growers within the community, see compelling illustrations and maps, and meet the diverse flavors of Oakland. Learn what motivations Oaklanders have for growing food—including access to healthy and delicious ingredients, environmental and social justice values, or simply the joy of tending a garden. Visitors will be invited to share personal stories, explore interactive activities, and gain a deeper understanding of Oakland’s agriculture.

 

Question Bridge: Black Males

Gallery of California Art

Ongoing

Hailed as one of the Bay Area’s Top Exhibitions by the San Francisco ChronicleQuestion Bridge: Black Males returns to the Oakland Museum of California’s Gallery of California Art. Immerse yourself in intimate videos—woven together and arranged to simulate face-to-face conversations between participants—among a diverse group of over 160 Black men across the United States. Hear these men answer each other’s questions with exceptional honesty and vulnerability, and share stories, beliefs, and values in a personal portrayal of their lives. Encompassing themes of family, love, interracial relationships, community, education, and wisdom, Question Bridge: Black Males presents nuanced portraits of past, present, and future of Black men in American society. Listen, watch, learn, and start your own conversations with this profoundly moving installation.

 

A recent acquisition to the Oakland Museum of California’s permanent collection, Question Bridge is an innovative and widely exhibited video installation from artists Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair. Joining the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Brooklyn Museum, OMCA is proud to acquire this groundbreaking and poignant work for its collection.

 

ABOUT THE OAKLAND MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state's art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multi-disciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with the first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. The Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019 as a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California's dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world.
 

VISITOR INFORMATION

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $16 general; $11 seniors and students with valid ID, $7 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. There is a $5 charge in addition to general admission pricing for special exhibitions. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the 1000 Oak Street main entrance to the Museum. museumca.org

 

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