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Oakland Museum of California Presents Marion Gray: Within the Light and Related Public Programs

RSVP for Media Preview: Feb, 12, 2pm

(Oakland, CA)—The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents an exhibition of work spanning four decades by groundbreaking and chimerical California artist/photographer Marion Gray in Marion Gray: Within the Light, on view February 14 through June 21, 2015 in the Gallery of California Art and has announced public programs related to the exhibition. Curated by Christina Linden, Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture, the exhibition highlights the career of this artist, innovator, and performance art-world insider who has blurred and expanded the boundaries between fine art photography, performance, and documentation.

Marion Gray: Within the Light features 23 photos by the artist, who has spent four decades capturing performances, dance, and installations by some of the most significant artists in the Bay Area and beyond. The creative networks portrayed in the exhibition have fueled Gray’s life work as a photographer and, in turn, Gray’s images have contributed to the vitality of the scene. Including never-before-seen photographs, the exhibition covers the 1970s to the present and highlights the work of artists including Barbara Hammer, The Harrisons, Sara Shelton Mann, Eiko + Koma, Joan Jonas, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Ann Hamilton, Marina Abramović, and more. The exhibition is the fourth exhibition in an ongoing series exploring contemporary topics in California through photography.

“An intense and longstanding dedication to subversive and innovative arts in the Bay Area is evident in Marion’s work,” asserts curator Christina Linden, “over years of prolific practice, she has carefully honed a sensibility about what’s most compelling and how this fits into a broader history of live art in our region.”


Pop-Up Talk: Performance Art
Friday, March 20, 2015, 7 pm
Performance historian and artist Lydia Brawner teaches about the history of California performance artists during the seventies and eighties, among other things, at San Francisco Art Institute and is a PhD Candidate in Performance Studies at New York University. She will talk about contemporary and archival approaches to performance in contemporary art inside the exhibition Marion Gray: Within the Light. Included with Gallery admission and part of Friday Nights @ OMCA.

OMCA Artist Conversation with Marion Gray
Friday, April 24, 2015, 7 pm
Curator Christina Linden will join artist Marion Gray and dancer Jess Curtis for an insider perspective and discussion about the artworks and artistic communities showcased in the photographs and the photographs presented in the Within the Light exhibition. Included with Gallery admission and part of Friday Nights @ OMCA.


Artist/Photographer Marion Gray’s collective work presents a unique and multifaceted vision: a very personal portrait of the remarkable individuals and events that have defined the Bay Area art world. She has been active in the vital Bay Area art scene since the 1970’s. In 1975 she completed her studies at the University of California at Berkeley in the Art History Department with Peter Selz, and in the Art Practice Department with Joan Brown, Jim Melchert, and Peter Voulkos.

Her work has taken her from the West Coast to New York and Europe, and covers a wide spectrum of artists. Her life’s work has created an expansive archive, always questioning and extending the possibilities of visual documentation as an art form. Gray currently resides and works in San Francisco. Gray had just completed her two degrees at UC Berkeley in 1975 when the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude came to the university to lecture on their upcoming project for Marin and Sonoma counties, Running Fence. In the fall of 1976 she hired on to work with the Christos. The project proved to be the beginning of a career for Gray working with artists of all practices creating imagery using both still and moving cameras.

Gray has created a unique, 40-year archive of work. Works include photographing one-time conceptual performances with John Cage or Tom Marioni (her documentation is the only record of these pieces); working with women’s groups like the Guerrilla Girls or Motion; dance ensembles including Nancy Karp + Dancers and Della Davidson; musicians Paul Dresher, Meredith Monk (with sculptor Ann Hamilton); composer Alvin Curran; theater groups such as George Coates Performance Works; and other projects in both the United States and Europe.

She has published in numerous magazines and books including Art in America, Art Forum, Leonardo Music Journal, High Performance, Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945 to 1980, and Woman in Technology 2003, and has exhibited in group and solo shows. Selected exhibitions include the San Francisco Art Institute Marion Gray/Photographs of Actual Art, the Performing Arts Library and Museum, In Performance–Tapestry and SF/SF (San Francisco/Science Fiction) an exhibit at the SF Arts Commission and the Clock Tower in NYC. In 2005, she showed in the Czech Republic, at the Palffyho Palace, Jazzova Sekce Gallery. The exhibition Resounding Works used photography, video, and sound.


Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact
January 31–September 20, 2015
This new exhibition in the Gallery of California Natural Sciences takes a look at the wildly diverse and intricate world of one of the most important creatures to human agriculture and the natural environment. Through family-friendly experiences, hands-on activities, and media, Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact touches on topics of honeybees and Bay Area beekeeping, the diversity of California native bee species, citizen science projects, and the similarities between bees and humans. Visitors will discover real bee specimens under a microscope, crawl through a human-sized beehive, and try on a beekeeper suit. The exhibition continues outside of the Gallery, with resident citizen science organizations, bee hotels installed in the OMCA gardens, and guides on planting a bee-friendly garden and building bee hotels to take home. In an immersive gallery environment, visitors can explore the causes of bee population decline, learn about the significance of bees to California’s economy and ecosystems, and discover how simple but powerful actions by Californians can help bees to survive in a changing world.

Pacific Worlds
May 30, 2015–January 3, 2016
Pacific Worlds, a new major exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California, explores California’s historical and contemporary place in the Pacific region, through rarely-seen objects from the Pacific Islands. One hundred years after the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the exhibition re-envisions California as “the East Coast of the Pacific,” taking over OMCA’s Great Hall with interactive, multi-faceted experiences. Pacific Worlds turns the familiar idea of California as the western frontier on its head, examining the deep and rich history of this region’s interactions with the Pacific, and exploring the on-going connections and intersecting experiences of Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, along with Filipinos, Native Californians, and American collectors, colonists, and audiences. Weaving together pieces from the Museum’s collections with interactive media, visitor contributions, and contemporary California Pacific Islander artwork and community voices, Pacific Worlds presents Californian identity as tied to and shaped by the histories, peoples, and geography of the Pacific Islands.


Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California
Through April 12, 2015
Illuminating local histories and social forces that changed the face of art in-and beyond-the Golden State, Fertile Ground weaves together art and ephemera from the collections of OMCA and SFMOMA, telling the stories of four creative communities at decisive moments in the history of California art: the circle of artists who worked with, influenced, 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 in the 1940s and 1950s; the free-spirited faculty and students at UC Davis in the 1960s and 1970s; and the streetwise, uncompromisingly idealistic artists at the center of a vibrant new Mission scene that took root in the 1990s through the present. Focusing equally on the artworks and the contexts that fostered their creation, Fertile Ground presents an intimate and textured history of personal relationships, artistic breakthroughs, and transformative social change.

Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California is jointly organized by the Oakland Museum of California and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Sunshine and Superheroes: San Diego Comic-Con
Through May 31, 2015
Examining the role of gender in comics, San Diego’s tourism industry, and the social and political ramifications of comics, Sunshine and Superheroes: San Diego Comic-Con is surprising investigation into the nation’s largest comics convention. Visitors examine artifacts such as vintage comic books, Comic-Con paraphernalia, and superhero outfits, along with original videos and an interactive photo booth complete with costumes for visitors to try on. The exhibition is the third in the series titled What’s Happening, California? a partnership between OMCA and California State University in which professors and students co-create exhibitions on topics affecting communities throughout the state.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history, and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA’s groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California’s cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $15 general; $10 seniors and students with valid ID, $6 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. 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.