Oakland Museum of California Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its Popular El Dia de los Muertos Community Celebration in October 2019, Alongside New Special Exhibition
(OAKLAND, CA)June 12, 2019—This October, Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will mark the 25th anniversary of its beloved El Día de los Muertos celebration with a powerful new exhibition opening October 16 and a special two-day community celebration October 19–20, the first weekend-long celebration for the widely popular annual event.
Curated by Erendina Delgadillo, Associate Curator of History, exhibition ¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of El Día de los Muertoswill draw inspiration from the Chicano activists who introduced El Día de los Muertos traditions to the United States in the 1970s. The exhibition will bring together altars, artworks, and interactive elements in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art that show how Chicano activists used El Día de los Muertos traditions to foster pride in their indigenous heritage and unify their communities. Works by California artists reflecting their relationships to Chicano identity will be included, as well as altar installations by Amalia Mesa-Bains and Celia Rodriguez, a community homenaje (homage altar) by the Fruitvale History Project, and an in-gallery mural by Oakland-based artist Oree Originol.
A series of artworks will showcase mentor and mentee relationships among Chicano printmakers, illustrating how artists shared ideas from one generation to the next during the Chicano movement. Other elements exploring Chicano identity and community will include historical objects, posters from the Museum’s collection, and intergenerational conversations captured on film. An interactive space will feature traditional nicho shrines contributed by local school groups, where visitors will also be encouraged to create nichos and paper marigolds in commemoration of their own loved ones.
“We are honored to use the 25th anniversary of El Día de los Muertos at OMCA to remind visitors of the Chicano history that gave way to this vibrant expression of political resistance and cultural affirmation that continues today,” said Delgadillo of the new exhibition.
Complementing the exhibition is an extended two-day celebration on October 19 and 20, 2019. The annual El Día de los Muertosfestival, created in partnership with OMCA’s Día de los Muertos community council, attracts up to 5,000 visitors each year with rituals, altars and ofrendas, musical performances, festive food, family activities, and more.
“Over the past 25 years, OMCA’s El Día de los MuertosCommunity Celebrations transform the Museum into a sacred space, bringing the Oakland community together to learn and honor this healing Mesoamerican Tradition,” said Cynthia Taylor, Associate Director of Public Engagement. “In partnership with our dedicated, year-round, and multi-generational Día de los Muertos volunteer committee, we proudly offer these traditions of colorful ofrendas and ceremonia alongside our community of neighbors, artists, altarists, Aztec and folkloric dancers, musicians, ritualists, local mercado and food vendors, and organizations. This year, we’re excited to introduce the first-ever expanded, two-day event for the entire family in celebration of the silver anniversary! The anniversary opening ceremony will takeplace at noon on Saturday, October 19, and the closing anniversary ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 20 at 4:30pm. Join us!”
¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of El Día de los Muertoswill be on view in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art October 16, 2019 through February 16, 2020.
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.
Through August 11, 2019 The Oakland Museum of California presents a major exhibition exploring California’s LGBTQ+ history and culture. Going beyond mainstream narratives, Queer California: Untold Stories deepens and expands our understanding of this history through a multifaceted exhibition. Visitors will experience powerful examples of social activism through contemporary artwork and historical materials and view rarely-seen artifacts, archival documents, photographs, costumes, and ephemera such as zines, stickers, and flyers. The exhibition aligns important milestones in LGBTQ+ culture with lesser-known stories, focusing on a diversity of queer identities, civil rights, and resistance to oppression.
Visitors themselves can share the events and places in California that have impacted their personal experiences, thereby creating a participatory in-gallery display that maps queer sites and reflects the range of the state’s queer history and expression. Queer California presents a future of possibility; through themes of memory, mourning, anger, desire, and hope, this exhibition draws on histories of struggle for self-determination to help us imagine a more inclusive future. There is a $5 charge for this special exhibition in addition to regular Museum admission.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hailed as one of the Bay Area’s Top Exhibitions by the San Francisco Chronicle, Question 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 millionobjects, 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.
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