Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California
September 20, 2014–April 12, 2015

In the fall of 2014, OMCA will present a major collaborative exhibition with SFMOMA, on view at the Museum for six months while SFMOMA is closed during its expansion. The exhibition, which will bring together important works from both museums’ collections, will explore how California artists have influenced and been influenced by artists, trends, and cultures on national and international levels.

The exhibition will look at four decisive periods from the last century that reveal different points of contact between California artists and the art world at large. The first of these is the 1930s, when Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were working in California, and Rivera painted the famous Allegory of California mural. This part of the exhibition will also include other public art and social realist works from the Depression era.

The second period focuses on the post-World War II artists associated with the San Francisco Art Institute, then called the California School of Fine Arts. Among this legendary group were painters Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, and David Park, and photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Dorothea Lange.  

The third period is UC Davis in the 1960s and 70s, when groundbreaking artists William Wiley, Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, Roy de Forest, and Manuel Neri were members of the extraordinary faculty.

The fourth seminal moment is the San Francisco Mission School from 1990 to the present, when the work of artists like Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, and Chris Johanson reflected the bohemian street culture of the Mission District.

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