Summer's here, it's a holiday, school is out, now it's time to play—and even if you don't know the lyrics to that famous Annette Funicello Bikini Beach theme song, you can still head down to the shores and various inland-y parts to check out the summer art fun awaiting. From Japanese dead guys to skateboard punks, OC rolls out some truly inspiring and awesome artful memories this season, so wax your board, or your car, and take it to the beach, babies. Here are a few must-sees:
Director Torrey Cook calls Artists Republic for Tomorrow (AR4T) “a seed. . . . It starts as the idea to provide a location where young creatives born of the youth-culture world can have a place to show their work and be supported. . . . The next idea is a radical experiment to foster community spirit.” Promoting the work of artists who lend their talents to graphic tees, snowboards, skateboards and all facets of youngster expression, Cook says, the gallery is “inspired by people who work hard to make life visual and without bounds.” Check out the summer shows at this free-thinker spot, starting with “Girls vs Boys: The Summer of Love,” featuring a selection of solo and collaborative works by Brooke Reidt and Robert “Sticky” Shaw that inspire conversation between the male and female animal. 210 N Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (415) 690-6180; www.ar4t.com. Through July 3.
Now in its 45th year, Laguna's annual show once again features artists from OC and around the world exhibiting every kind of medium and style of art—and all of it is for sale! Pick up snazzy oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, drawings, photography, digital art, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, glass and wood—and on the weekends, do it to live music while chowing down on fancy cuisine. 777 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-4514; www.art-a-fair.com. June 24 -Aug. 28.
The big show this summer is Bowers' “Masterpieces From the Price Collection,” showcasing the exceptional screen and scroll painters of Edo-period Japan. Step back into the 18th Century in Tokyo and Kyoto and experience the unrivaled talents of Nagasawa Rosetsu, Maruyama Okyo, Mori Sosen, Suzuki Kiitsu and others. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Through July 17.
THE BOX GALLERY
Don't miss “Aerosols to Airplanes,” new pieces by Aaron Kraten, as curated by Johnny Sampson, featuring mixed-media works of fashion, technology, beauty and angst often created with found objects and heavily influenced by graffiti art. Sampson puts it succinctly in his curatorial statement: “Strikingly devoid of narrative, Kraten's work offers an objectified snapshot into the world of emotion and artifice we call 'today.'” Sounds rockin'. 765 Saint Clair St., Ste. B, Costa Mesa, (714) 724-4633; www.boxboxbox.com. Through Aug. 5.
FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS/PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS
It's time once again to see art come to life—or at least be alive—in the Pageant's new theatrical tableaux vivant, Only Make Believe, a series of images presenting worlds populated by ancient and modern superheroes and strange mythical creatures, including Victorian historical fantasies, fairy tales and futuristic imaginings. Just as the flier says, “You get two shows for the price of one” at this event, meaning that after the living painting show, you can wander over to the Festival of the Arts to ogle and awe over nonbreathing works by more than 140 award-winning artists. 650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-1145; www.foapom.com. July 7-Aug 31.
GRAND CENTRAL ART CENTER
Shag, that darling of the rockabilly and midcentury modern sets, is back in town with more than 250 limited-edition serigraphs, etchings and pigment prints in “Hand Pulled: The Complete Shag Print Collection.” There'll be a new etching available for sale, as well as other Shaggy stuff. Get there early on opening night to have your book and poster signed by the dude himself. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 567-7233; www.grandcentralartcenter.com. Opening reception, July 2. Open Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Through Aug. 14.
IRVINE FINE ART CENTER
“Making Mischief: Humor In Art” focuses on the disarming social vehicle that so many use to express the foibles and folly of earthlings, most pointedly the comics and caricatures of Max Espinoza and Ruben Gerard. 14321 Yale Ave., Irvine, (949) 724-6880; www.cityofirvine.org. Opens Aug. 13; through Sept. 17.
JOANNE ARTMAN GALLERY
The gallery presents internationally acclaimed abstract expressionist James Verbicky in a new conceptual, mixed-media construction show, “Diffusion.” Taking the term fairly literally, Verbicky's works represent the various stages of particles in liquid, gas or solid form and their subsequent spontaneous movement. This encompasses a variety of things, so look forward to some conversation-generating sculptures and paintings. 326 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 510-5481; www.joanneartmangallery.com. Opening reception, July 7. Through July 31.
LES JOLIS TRESORS
The funky little gallery offers up some entertaining fare with “Coup de Foudre,” meaning “bolt of lightning/love at first sight,” with the ceramics of Lynne Haggard and paintings by Annie Clavel, Hiroko Momii and Veronica Schmitt. 3226 E Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 735-4060; www.lesjolistresors.com. Through Aug. 10.
LAGUNA ART MUSEUM
Japan is the thing this summer (see Bowers Museum), and the Laguna Art Museum joins in with “Noguchi: California Legacy,” spotlighting works by artist/designer Isamu Noguchi, with a focus on the impact he had on California. You've seen his sculpture garden at South Coast Plaza, but you may not have caught his other works around Los Angeles, and it's high time you did. 307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971; www.lagunaartmuseum.org. Through Oct. 2.
LONG BEACH MUSEUM OF ART
This quaint gallery by the sea presents more than 100 portraits from Pasadena artist Ray Turner, whose show “Population, Good Man/Bad Man” is currently trekking the nation and invites you to “contemplate identity individually as well as collectively.” Also check out the “Wilma and Roland Duquette Collection: World Collector's Enthusiasm” featuring modern and contemporary American art, Latin American works, and late 19th- and 20th-century European artists. Included are Long Beachers and Angelenos Michael Todd, Billy Al Bengston, Peter Alexander, Charles Arnoldi and Laddie John Dill. And finally, “The Jason Wong Estate: One Collector, Many Media” invites you to enjoy the works of Claire Falkenstein, Beth Van Hoesen, Billy Al Bengston, Keith Crown and Ed Ruscha. 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 439-2119; www.lbma.org. Through Sept. 11.
MUCKENTHALER CULTURAL CENTER
The Muck gets all twisty this summer with “American Nostalgia: Contemporary Artists and Illustrators Reinterpret the Traditional Themes of Norman Rockwell,” which should prove to be a positively fascinating show, with insightful, wacky and wonky flip-flops on patriotism, family and the American ideal. Invitational artists include Aaron Jasinski, Alina Chau, Bradford Salamon, Brigette Barrager, Carrie Hobson, Craig MacKay, Dave Pressler, David Macdowell, Eli Trinh, Frank Stockton, Fred Harper, Greg Newbold, Hugh Dunnahoe, Jay Merryweather, Jenikah, Joe Biel, Joe Devera, Joey Remmers, John T. Quinn III, Julie Lee, Justin DeGarmo, Kelly Vivanco, Kelvin Nguyen, Mike Wimmer, Patrick Ballesteros, Rich Tuzon, Rick Powell, Ron Velasco, Ronald J. Llanos, Sanithna Phansavanh, Soey Milk, Stacey Aoyama, Steven James Petruccio, Tina Anderson and Soyoun Lee. Now say them backwards! 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6595; www.muckenthaler.org. Opening reception, July 7. Through Sept. 5.
MUSEUM OF LATIN AMERICAN ART
Exploring past and current issues in Latin America, curators Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Idurre Alonso have culled single-channel videos by established and emerging artists in “Unresolved Circumstances: Video Art from Latin America.” The installations are broken into three themes—culture, politics and location—and attempt to create a dialogue within each realm. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, (562) 437-1689; www.molaa.org. Open Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Aug. 28.
ORANGE COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
Curator Lynne Warren makes a strong case for mobile/standile sculpture artist Alexander Calder against snooty critics, but we love him anyway—like everyone else! Don't miss this entertaining and inspiring exhibit featuring one of the largest West Coast collections of Calder's work. Also check out the works of the younger generation of sculptors he has inspired. And take your kids—or someone else's. 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122; www.ocma.net. Through Sept. 4.
OMC GALLERY FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
The tiny, hip gallery in the heart of Old World Village reopens its doors after a brief siesta for “Tribute to Black on White,” a look at the photography of an array of international artists, including Harold Chapman, Nick Dekker, Pavel Odvody and Renate Scherra. Don't miss the grit of Chapman, Dekker's sensitivity, Odvody's oddities and Scherra's documentary realism. 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 421-0476; www.omc-llc.com. Through July 17.
Summer always means Sawdust in Laguna Beach—and a landscape of hundreds of local artists selling their wares. Among the booths are various forms of entertainment from face painting and pot throwing for the kids to toe rings for the adults who go in for jewelry that does not pierce or pinch. Food vendors galore and live entertainment mean one extensive day of arty-farty goodness. 935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-3030; www.sawdustartfestival.org. Through Aug. 28.
This article appeared in print as “Japan, Shag and More! Highlights from Orange County and Long Beach galleries for the summer.”