Editor's note: The Orange County Museum of Art provided source material to Resource Library for the following article. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Orange County Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:


Catherine Opie: In and Around Home

June 4 through September 3, 2006


(above: Catherine Opie, House #2 (Bel Air),1995, Chromogenic print, 40 x 50 inches. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles. © 2006 Catherine Opie)


The Orange County Museum of Art presents a major exhibition of photographs by Los Angeles artist Catherine Opie. On view June 4 through September 3, 2006, Catherine Opie: In and Around Home showcases the artist's renowned images alongside rarely seen works that document the people, places, and identities in our culture, including works ranging from her earliest photographs from the mid-1980s to her most recent series, In and Around Home, completed in 2005. There will be a reception with the artist June 24, 2006 (right: Catherine Opie, Untitled #1 from"Freeway" series,1994, Platinum print, ed. of 5, 2-1/4 x 6-3/4 inches. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles. © 2006 Catherine Opie)

The occasion for this exhibition is the debut of two new series of work, 1999 (1999) and In and Around Home (2005). Co-organized by the Orange County Museum of Art and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (where this recent body of work was originally presented in February, 2006), these new images offer the opportunity for a re-examination of Opie's larger oeuvre and especially her work focused on Southern California.

The Orange County Museum of Art presentation expands the exhibition with selections from several additional series including Master Plan, Freeways, Houses, Mini-Malls, and Surfers, all taken in and around Los Angeles.

Since the prominent debut of her classically composed but often shocking images capturing Los Angeles's gay subculture, Opie has continued to explore the rich terrain of cultural portraiture and the documentary tradition in America. In its compelling clarity and inherent variation, her work reveals a deeply personal commitment to the dignity of her subjects.

"Catherine Opie is one of the nation's most important photographers today documenting the American scene through regional landscapes and cultural portraiture," stated Elizabeth Armstrong, OCMA deputy director and chief curator. "This exhibition of her work focuses on the poignant polarities of communities, values, and identities within the contradictory landscape that is Southern California."

On public view for the first time is Opie's MFA thesis project, a photographic series entitled Master Plan (1986-88). In this extensive series, the artist chronicled the development of a model housing project in Valencia, California, offering a microcosmic look at American identity that set the stage for much of her subsequent work. In her recent photographic essay In and Around Home (2005), Opie used images taken in her diverse Los Angeles neighborhood to explore personal and political identity. This new body of work will be shown with 1999, a series of color photographs made during a crosscountry trip that Opie took at the turn of the millennium. Traveling along the nation's back roads, she made photographs of both the signage and the landscape of rural America that convey the impression of time standing still.

Punctuating these images of neighborhood, landscape, and built environment will be a selection of the artist's portraits of people and architecture from other locations in Southern California. These include Freeways (1994­95), diminutively scaled platinum prints of the region's soaring overpasses; Houses (1995­96), her large-scale color images of the facades of Beverly Hills and Bel-Air homes; and Surfers (2004), a series of elegant seascapes and portraits of surfers taken along the Malibu coastline. (right: Catherine Opie, Nick, 2003, C-print, 31 1/4 x 24 3/4 inches. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles. © 2006 Catherine Opie)

The exhibition is accompanied with a fully illustrated, 96-page catalogue with more than 75 images. Author AM Homes (Safety of Objects, Music for Torching) has written an original piece of short fiction for the catalogue, which will also include an introduction by OCMA Chief Curator Elizabeth Armstrong and an essay by Aldrich Curatorial Director Jessica Hough.

The presentation of Catherine Opie: In and Around Home will include a full schedule of public programs related to the exhibition that address contemporary photography and cultural identities, and the American landscape through art labs, music, and lectures.


About the Artist

Born in Sandusky, Ohio, Catherine Opie received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Opie's work has been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Selected solo exhibitions: The Walker Art Center, Minneopolis, MN; St. Louis Art Museum, MO; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Photographers' Gallery, London; Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Studio Guenzani, Milan; and Ginza Art Space, Tokyo. She is currently a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Exhibition Curator

The exhibition is cocurated by Elizabeth Armstrong, Deputy Director for Programs and Chief Curator at the Orange County Museum of Art. OCMA exhibitions to her credit include the 2002 California Biennial, 2004 California Biennial, Girls' Night Out (2003), Villa America: American Moderns, 1900­1950 (2005), among others. Prior to her appointment at OCMA she served as senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (MCA) and curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She has lectured widely and published numerous books and catalogues on contemporary art. Armstrong received her M.A. in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley, and B.A. in American Studies from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.


Exhibition Tour

Editor's note: Resource Library readers may also enjoy:

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Orange County Museum of Art in Resource Library.

Visit the Table of Contents for Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

© Copyright 2006 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.