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Oakland Museum of California Presents VIVO: Days of the Dead 2010 Oct. 6–December 5, 2010

Oakland, CA, July 29, 2010 – Installations and ofrendas (altars) by ten artists and local school and community groups focusing on current local and international issues highlight VIVO: Days of the Dead 2010, the 17th Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) Days of the Dead observance and exhibition, on view October 6-December 5, 2010.

This year’s theme, Vivo, celebrates the living and our dynamic connections to those who have gone before: our ancestors, leaders, loved ones, friends, and others. Guest curator Jaime Cortez says, “VIVO: Days of the Dead 2010 reminds us that death is not necessarily the opposite of life. The two are instead inextricably knotted together, and give each other meaning. To acknowledge death, reverently or playfully, is to acknowledge the fleeting wonder of life itself.”

A special community celebration with an opening ritual, music, dance, food, entertainment, gallery tours, and an arts and crafts market is slated for Saturday, October 23, from 12 to 4:30 pm, included in regular OMCA admission. “I can hardly think of an event that better embodies what OMCA is all about,” says the museum’s Executive Director Lori Fogarty. “OMCA was founded as a ‘museum of the people’ and Dìas de los Muertos is a celebration and observation in which we share our values of community participation and engagement in telling of the many stories of California through art, history, science. More importantly, it is a vibrant reminder that our celebrations and times of coming together define who we are as individuals and community.”

OMCA’s annual Dìas de los Muertos Celebration has been one of the Bay Area’s most popular community events for 16 years, drawing thousands of participants annually to mark the traditional Meso-American celebrations and give them a contemporary artistic twist. On October 23 from 12 noon to 4:30 pm, the public will celebrate Dias de los Muertos beginning with a ritual in front of OMCA’s Oak Street Entrance. Following the ceremonia, visitors will enter the Gardens invited by the sounds of music and conversation , the smells of food and burning copal incense. Throughout the day there will be food and drinks, demonstrations and sale of arts and crafts at a mercado, music and dance, and countless activities for visitors of all ages, as well as access to the exhibition and galleries.

Ten Artists and Community Participation Create Altars and Installations
This year the theme, Vivo, will inspire ten Bay Area artists to create new works that evoke the interactions of the living and the dead specifically for the exhibition that will be on view in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art. Featured will be new work by artists Raul Aguilar, Cristianne Dugan Cuadra, Ana Fernandez, Robert Garcia, Erika Hannes, Jesse Hernandez, Carlos Anthony Lopez, Avery Mazor, Virgo Paraiso, and Tino Rodriguez. Thematically, the altars and installations will confront national and international events as well as universal issues affecting communities. In addition the contribution of school groups and Alternatives in Action will add community flavor to the installations. Many of the installations include opportunities for the public to interact with and contribute to them, weaving their own voices, stories, memories and thoughts into the evolving fabric of the work.


  Public Programs Enhance Visitors’ Experiences

  In addition to the October 23 celebration, OMCA will present gallery talks by participating artists on the following dates:
Friday, October 8, at 7 pm, Jesse Hernandez and Cristianne Dugan Cuadra
Sunday, October 17, at 2 pm, Tino Rodriguez and Virgo Paraiso
Thursday, November 4, at 6:30 pm, Erika Hannes and Carlos Lopez
Friday, November 12, at 7 pm, Jaime Cortez and representatives of the participating schools and community groups
Sunday, November 14, at 2 pm, Robert Garcia and Ana Fernandez.

More About the 2010 Theme

Guest Curator Jaime Cortez chose VIVO as the theme for this year’s Days of the Dead because the word, like its English equivalent “live”, has many meanings, most of which, according to Cortez’s concept, connect elegantly to what he thinks Dias de los Muertos is all about. “The word vivo also reminds us that Dìas de los Muertos is a living, ever-evolving tradition,” he says. “Syncretic from the start, the holiday blended ancient ideas and symbols of pre-Columbian Mexico and Central America with those of Catholicism. Centuries later and thousands of miles away in California, we see that the holiday continues to evolve year-by-year as diverse people in different communities add new elements to it. The public will see this demonstrated in this year’s ofrendasofrendas to specific individuals, and have elected instead to make altars focused on broader political and spiritual themes, including the ongoing murders of women in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, and the historic oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. This spirit of change and evolution sums up the blend of traditional and contemporary expressions that will characterize VIVO.

Vivo means clever, quick-witted, or astute. This connects to the piercing humor and trickster spirit of the Days of the Dead, with its satiric poems, fancy-dress skeletons, and chummy familiarity with La Pelona, (“the bald woman,” a nickname for death). The artists chosen for this year’s exhibition will exemplify the humor and cleverness implicit in the word vivo. In one piece, based on the traditional voladores dance that features men launching themselves from a spinning platform 60 feet off the ground, the artist has instead suspended gnarled dragons to represent how our good intentions go terribly wrong.

Vivo also means vivid, intense, and bright. Dìas de los Muertos has traditionally been a time of vivid colors and intense emotions, at once festive and contemplative. This continues to be the case today, and the artists of VIVO will fill the gallery with colors that are alternately exquisitely subtle and eye-poppingly saturated—as will be seen on the 10-foot pyramid in the gallery.” (altars), which incorporate traditional materials like flowers and candles as well as painting, sculpture, video, photos, and motorized electronics. “Visitors will also sense the commemoration’s changing nature in the way that this year’s artists have stayed away from creating personal or family

About Jaime Cortez Corpus, a journal that used art, photography, poetry and prose to address HIV prevention. Sexile, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Cortez, was nominated for the American Library Association award, and Turnover, a queer comic anthology he edited, was a finalist for the Independent Publisher’s Award. Cortez has lectured on art and activism for students at many universities. Cortez received his BA in communications at the University of Pennsylvania and his MFA in Art Practice at UC Berkeley. Cortez curated Calivera, the Oakland Museum of California’s 2005 Day of the Dead exhibition.

New Hours at Oakland Museum of California Including Expanded Thursday and Friday Evenings

Oakland Museum of California has introduced new expanded hours, including Thursday and Friday evenings. OMCA’s popular late night Friday programming has moved to the 2nd Friday of the month.

Closed Monday and Tuesday
Wednesday 11 am – 5 pm
Thursday and Friday 11 am – 8 pm
Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
Second Fridays 11 am – 9 pm
Admission is $12 general; $9 students and seniors with valid ID, $6 youth ages 9-17, and free for children 8 and under, and members.

OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station. OMCA is at the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the new 1000 Oak Street main entrance.

Programs during the Opening Season of the Oakland Museum of California are made possible by the Clorox Company, the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, Target, Wells Fargo, and Chevron. Friday programming has moved to the 2nd Friday of the month. OMCA will continue to offer free admission to the public on the first Sunday of each month, beginning in June and made possible by Wells Fargo. New hours are as follows: Monday and Tuesday

About the Oakland Museum of California

On May 1, 2010, the Oakland Museum of California welcomed back the public with a dramatically different presentation of its renowned collections of California art and history. Created in 1969 as a “museum for the people,” OMCA has revived its founding vision by introducing innovative exhibitions and programming, setting a new paradigm for the way a museum engages the public. OMCA’s transformation is enhanced by renovation and expansion of its iconic building. Renovation and reopening of the Natural Sciences Gallery is scheduled for 2012.

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.


PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation

(July 31, 2010–January 9, 2011)

PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation
will provide an unprecedented look at the renowned Emeryville-based studio (located just a few miles from OMCA) and showcase the creative work behind its wildly successful computer-animated films. The only American venue since the 2005 MoMA show, the OMCA exhibition will include art from Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, and Pixar’s latest film, Toy Story 3. Working closely with Pixar Animation Studios, OMCA will host a series of dynamic public programs for audiences of all ages in conjunction with the exhibition.

The Marvelous Museum: A Project by Mark Dion

(September 11, 2010–March 6, 2011)

Mounting a unique expedition through the Museum’s art, history, and natural science collections, conceptual artist Mark Dion will create multiple site-specific installations and interventions throughout the art galleries, drawing upon the overlooked orphans, curiosities, and treasures from the collections. Many of these objects date back to OMCA’s predecessor institutions and, while they often lie outside of OMCA’s California focus, still tell a rich and interesting story of how museum collections are assembled over time. OMCA Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman curates this first major West Coast presentation of Dion’s work, which will be accompanied by a publication by Chronicle Books in partnership with The Believer

VIVO: Dias de los Muertos 2010 (Days of the Dead)

(October 6–December 5, 2010)

Days of the Dead returns to OMCA in its 17th year. The exhibition is curated by artist and cultural worker Jaime Cortez in one of the new exhibition spaces in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art. This year’s theme will continue to provide audiences with a basic fundamental understanding and appreciation of this Meso-American tradition, as well as provide a forum for the tradition to grow and expand its vocabulary through new artistic expressions. The Arts of the Missions of Northern New Spain: 1600-1821 (February 26–May 29, 2011) This exhibition, which originated at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso (Mexico City), explores the rich artistic legacy of the Franciscan and Jesuit mission churches in northern Mexico and the American Southwest. Many of the missions were exuberantly decorated with lavish paintings, sculpture, furniture, and liturgical objects and vestments. The exhibition will showcase 125 objects from collections in Mexico, the US, and Europe, including many from the missions themselves. OMCA is the only California venue for this traveling exhibition and one of only two in the United States.

Michael McMillen: A Retrospective Survey

(April 9, 2011–January 1, 2012)

Michael McMillen: A Retrospective Survey spanning the 40-year career of the Santa Monica-based mixed-media artist, will present walk-through installations, sculptures, paintings, and films throughout the Art Gallery, Chief Curator of Art Philip Linhares has selected works that include The Pavilion of Rain, 1989; Train of Thought, 1990; Deliverance, 1992; Red Trailer Motel, 2003; and Time Below, 2003. A 240-page book will accompany the exhibition, with essays by curators, critics, and writers.

More information and updated program schedules may be found at


For more information and visuals, please contact:
Scott Horton
Oakland Museum of California
[email protected]