(Oakland, CA) – This November, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline, a new exhibition exploring the connections between art and science through fantastically colorful renderings by artist Ray Troll and the research of paleontologist Kirk Johnson, who is also the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Together, Troll and Johnson logged more than 10,000 miles in 250 days as they traveled up and down the coast stopping by fossil dig sites, visiting museums, examining research collections, and meeting with like-minded scientists and artists. Cruisin’ paints a vivid picture of their adventures, bringing to life the creatures that once roamed the West Coast thousands of years ago and highlighting the dramatic changes in California’s landscape, plants, and animals over time. Sculpture, maps, a giant Harlan’s ground sloth fossil (Paramylodon harlani) and other fossils and bones from the collections of OMCA and the California Academy of Sciences will allow visitors to see the natural environment of California in a new way.
“It’s amazing what fossils can teach us about living things from the past, and even why our landscape looks the way it does today,” says Sarah Seiter, associate curator of natural sciences at the Oakland Museum of California. “This exhibition will help our visitors imagine what California and the Bay Area looked like thousands of years ago. We are excited to have the opportunity to bring art and science together as two of the Museum’s core disciplines in an exhibition that is both visually stunning and rich in scientific detail.”
Through four thematic sections, visitors will learn about Troll and Johnson’s collaboration as artist and scientist, including details about their road trip and a video about how they bonded over a love of fossils. Original works and large reproductions of Troll’s illustrations will be displayed throughout the exhibition, as well as a map highlighting 50 Bay Area fossil finds uncovered during major construction projects, such as the building of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and the Oakland Coliseum complex. Large maps and illustrations will illuminate California locations of significance where plant and animal fossils have been discovered, including land once under water, such as Shark Tooth Hill near Bakersfield.
Visitors can compare fossils and bones to discover the differences and similarities between living animals and their extinct predecessors, including a skull from the now-extinct dire wolf on loan from the California Academy of Sciences, a wolf skull, a bear skull from the OMCA collection, and a reproduction of the now-extinct short-faced bear. Impacts of human activities and causes of contemporary mass extinctions will also be explored, and visitors can also handle real fossils and learn to classify them by shape, color, and surface texture.
Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline is on view in the Gallery of California Art from November 10, 2018 to March 17, 2019. The exhibition is organized by the Anchorage Museum.
Press images are available to download at museumca.org.
ABOUT THE OAKLAND MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state’s art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multi-disciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with the first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. 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 for visitors from the region, state, and around the world.
Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for children 8 and under and Members. There is a $4 charge in addition to general admission pricing for some special exhibitions. Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline is included with general Museum admission. OMCA offers onsite underground parking, with validation for Museum visitors, 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 new 1000 Oak Street main entrance. Regular hours are 11 am to 5 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm Fridays. museumca.org
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS & PROJECTS
The World of Charles and Ray Eames
October 13, 2018 – February 17, 2019
Fueled by their belief in design as a way of life, the innovative husband and wife duo Charles and Ray Eames were two of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. Go beyond their most well-known designs in this intimate and inspiring exhibition portraying their legacy and lives in California. The Eameses–who founded The Eames Office–valued knowledge and discovery, embraced the joy of trial and error, and saw no separation between life and work. Through multi-media installations, films, rare prototypes, photography, furniture, toys, products, as well as personal letters, drawings, and artwork, discover the story of the Eameses from a fresh perspective. Explore the breadth of their work across many fields in this interactive exhibition that brings their ideas and playful spirit to life.
The World of Charles and Ray Eames was curated and organized by Barbican Art Gallery, London. The Oakland Museum of California presentation is made possible by Herman Miller and the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, in collaboration with the Barbican Art Gallery and Eames Office, with support from Terra Foundation. There is a $4 charge for this special exhibition in addition to regular Museum admission.
Queer California: Untold Stories
April 13 – August 11, 2019
In Spring 2019, the Oakland Museum of California will present a major exhibition exploring California’s LGBTQ+ history and culture. Going beyond mainstream narratives, Queer California: Untold Stories will deepen and expand our understanding of this history through a multifaceted exhibition. Visitors will experience powerful examples of social activism through contemporary artwork and historical materials and view rarely-seen artifacts, archival documents, photographs, costumes, and ephemera such as zines, stickers, and flyers. The exhibition aligns important milestones in LGBTQ+ culture with lesser-known stories, focusing on a diversity of queer identities, civil rights, and resistance to oppression.
Visitors themselves can share the events and places in California that have impacted their personal experiences, thereby creating a participatory in-gallery display that maps queer sites and reflects the range of the state’s queer history and expression. Queer California presents a future of possibility; through themes of memory, mourning, anger, desire, and hope, this exhibition draws on histories of struggle for self-determination to help us imagine a more inclusive future. There is a $4 charge for this special exhibition in addition to regular Museum admission.
Homegrown Heroes: Oakland A’s at 50
Through October 21, 2018
Share your love for Oakland’s hometown team with a new pop-up installation in the Gallery of California History celebrating the Oakland A’s 50th anniversary. Honor three iconic homegrown–Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, and Dave Stewart–and get up close with rare photographs, high school yearbook images, and sports memorabilia worn by the players to learn about their roots in The Town and contributions to the team. Reminisce about the legendary 1989 Battle of the Bay World Series with a poster from the OMCA Collection, and contribute your own baseball memories of playing America’s favorite pastime or attending an A’s game.
A Question of Faith
Through November 4, 2018
Engage in the conversation on art and politics when the Oakland Museum of California takes part in the widely-anticipated For Freedoms Federation’s 50 State Initiative this fall. Founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, the project is one of the largest creative collaborations in the history of the country. Hundreds of cultural, educational, and public sites will inspire political participation through the arts leading up to the midterm elections.
From September 10 to November 4 throughout Oakland, visitors will view A Question of Faith, a temporary public artwork by artist Chris Johnson on billboards and bus shelters–as well as OMCA’s campus–that remixes photographs by acclaimed 20th century documentary photographer Dorothea Lange with a quote by American Transcendentalist Theodore Parker. This artwork reflects upon the role of faith and history in politics, and provides a platform to share views at the Museum’s interactive chalkboard installation.
Take Root: Oakland Grows Food
Through November 2019
Unearth Oakland’s multi-layered world of food in Take Root: Oakland Grows Food, an exhibition exploring aspects of growing food in Oakland. Enjoy this hands-on exhibition with the entire family to understand what factors determine where, how, why, and what is grown throughout the city. Hear personal stories from farmers and growers within the community, see compelling illustrations and maps, and meet the diverse flavors of Oakland. Learn what motivations Oaklanders have for growing food–including access to healthy and delicious ingredients, environmental and social justice values, or simply the joy of tending a garden. Visitors will be invited to share personal stories, explore interactive activities, and gain a deeper understanding of Oakland’s agriculture.
Jane Dixon is new to blogging in Oakland, but loves The Town!