The Palm Court Arts Complex is home to the Great Park Gallery and the Great Park Artists Studios, housing a publicly-accessible artists-in-residence program. This new civic space also features Hangar 244, a 10,000 square foot event center; a shaded outdoor performance plaza enhanced by 54 Canary Islands date palms; and the Great Park’s first site-specific permanent public art installation.
Visitors will discover that the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro’s World War II-era atmosphere and architecture have been preserved by means of adaptive reuse of existing buildings, a strategy that aligns with the Park’s ecological values. The Palm Court’s re-purposed military structures now form a cultural campus supporting the development of a fresh approach to establishing an interdisciplinary, public arts program.
|You can see the following exhibits by visiting the Great Park Gallery during open hours:
Thursday-Friday: Noon-4:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Deborah Aschheim: Involuntary Memories: Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and the Nixon Years
On exhibit April 27, 2013 – July 14, 2013
In the Orange County Great Park’s latest site-specific art exhibition, Deborah Aschheim: Involuntary Memories: Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and the Nixon Years, the reflected memories of a community spring to life as original drawings, sculptures, texts and films transform the Great Park Gallery into a walk-in community storybook.
Guest curated by Meg Linton, this thought-provoking exhibition artfully showcases excerpts of interviews Aschheim conducted with Great Park visitors during her six-month residency at the Great Park from October 2011-March 2012. The interview excerpts are displayed alongside dozens of Aschheim’s hand-drawn illustrations based on images from the Nixon years and two new sculptures. Aschheim created the illustrations and sculptures in response to stories shared by members of the community.
This vivid tapestry of art and community memory is accompanied by extensive excerpts from The Silent Majority: Super 8 Home Movies from the Nixon White House lensed by H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman and Dwight Chapin, and preserved and compiled by Penny Lane and Brian Frye. The excerpts were recently screened in New York by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art.
Artist and Exhibition Background
In late 2011, the Orange County Great Park invited Deborah Aschheim to be one of its first artists-in-residence at the newly opened Palm Court Arts Complex. During her residency, she used the Great Park Artists Studios as a project office and lab in which she conducted field research by speaking to Park visitors about their remembrances of the base, city, and county.
According to Henry Korn, Curator of the Great Park Gallery and Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage for the Great Park at the time, “This community-centered project is intended to be about memory, history, and place, because the opening of the Palm Court Arts Complex marked the end of an era following the closing of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Deborah Aschheim used her Great Park residency as a good opportunity to build upon her previous artwork about memory. To give her project a face and a time she focused on Richard Nixon and his relationship to Orange County and MCAS El Toro.”
Aschheim first became preoccupied by President Nixon at age nine when, according to Meg Linton, Guest Curator, “many young people become aware of civics and history and their political consciousness begins to form. When she was in the 4th grade,” reports Meg Linton, Deborah Aschheim was just beginning to know there was a world outside her family and the world switched – from being just her house, her street and her family – to her nation. And suddenly, there was Watergate.”
During her residency at the Great Park in 2011-2012, Aschheim spent almost every Sunday in her “open” studio at the Palm Court Arts Complex working on drawings. When a visitor entered her studio, they saw vintage photographs, reference books, and drawings of President Nixon, University of California, Irvine, and Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. When curious visitors engaged the artist in conversation, Aschheim asked if she could record a personal story explaining she was interested in memories only, not partisan politics.
After interviewing a particular Park visitor, Aschheim researched the specific event the person was referring to in order to find a corresponding historical image to draw. Sometimes, Aschheim discovered discrepancies between what was described to her and what actually happened. However that did not matter in this context because as Curator Meg Linton observes in her exhibition catalog essay, Aschheim was creating an art installation rather than a history exhibition, so the artist could focus on idiosyncratic, unreliable, distorted and creative aspects of memory and how they reveal individual and community identity.
Some Great Park visitors also shared stories about the City of Irvine prior to its incorporation; however that subject proved less attractive to talk about than a conflicted presidency and a controversial war. It wasn’t until Aschheim went to the photo archives at the University of California, Irvine during her extended residency that she found visual clues defining a transitional moment for both a place and a community.
Aschheim sorted through vintage 35mm slides from the beginning of the construction of UC Irvine through 1974 when President Nixon resigned. According to the artist, the UC Irvine images included in her Great Park Gallery installation tell the core story of the Nixon years in another way because the new University, like the nation at large was poised at the moment between two realities – the utopian ideal represented by the futuristic modern architecture of the campus giving way to the Cold War era tension and student protest adding up to an Orange County “not boring or shielded from the politics of the 1960′s and early 1970′s but strangely reflective, engaged and now haunted by a utopian future that did not come to pass.”
|The Artists Studios Hours:
Jennifer is an instructor of dance at Chapman University where she teaches modern dance technique, dance improvisation and Introduction to Dance Studies. She is also a teaching artist for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts ArtsTeach Program where she shares her love for dance and choreography with local students in public and private schools across Southern California.
She recently completed her graduate studies through the prestigious Hollins Unversity/American Dance Festival program, earning her a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance.
Note: Jennifer Backhaus will be in the studio on the following dates and times:
Thursday, December 6 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Thursday, December 20 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Thursday, December 29 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Legacy Project
Check out some of the Great Park’s past Artists-in-Residence:
Local Southern California-based artist Andre Woodward explores the intersection of nature, technology and humanity. His work features manmade and non-living materials harmoniously coexisting. His art has been showcased in the book My Green City and on the covers of Sculpture Magazine and the most recent Visions from the New California catalog. His projects have been exhibited throughout California at the 18th Street Art Center, the Torrance Art Museum, with solo exhibitions at the Huntington Beach Art Center, Whittier College and Villa Montalvo.
Deborah Aschheim makes installations, drawings and sculptures based on invisible networks of perception and thought. Her recent work exploring the subject of memory has led her to collaborate with musicians and neuroscientists. Her project for the Orange County Great Park is based on her life long fascination with Richard Nixon.
Amy Caterina integrates fiber art, photography and video in her work. Her unique style of free-range knitting includes objects and environments that comment on the real and the artificial. Caterina also works as a freelance curator and is an avid yarn bomber. Amy resides in Santa Ana and holds a master's degree in photography with an emphasis in video from California State University Fullerton.
|Arts Happenings at the Great Park bring the community together to experience — and participate in — art in the Park. Programs are developed to cover a wide variety of media and interests, and include events developed in collaboration with Arts Orange County and our Artists-in-Residence.
2013 Chamber Music Series
Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.
This lively series of immersive, informative and informal chamber concerts curated by Kevin Kwan Loucks features guest artists such as Ross Gasworth, Bill Kalinkos, Iryna Krechkovsky and Kimberly Patterson. Loucks served as Great Park artist in residence in 2011-12 and was praised by the Orange County Register for “exhilarating polish, unity, and engagement.” The Völser Zeitung (Italy) considers him “a shining talent” and La Presse, Montréal terms his musicianship “impeccable.”
Yamaha Piano provided courtesy of Yamaha Corporation of America
Saturday, January 26
Iryna Krechkovsky, violin
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
From 1871 to the early 1900s, French composers began experimenting with instrumental sonorities through the power of suggestion and atmosphere – music that directly opposed the emotional excesses of the Romantic era. French Impressions features three masterpieces from the French chamber music repertoire: Claude Debussy’s final composition, the Sonata for Violin and Piano; Cesar Franck’s richly harmonic and cyclically structured Sonata for Cello and Piano; and Maurice Ravel’s exotic and highly virtuosic Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano composed at the onset of World War I.
Saturday, February 23
The Krechkovsky/Loucks Duo
Johannes Brahms composed the three sonatas for violin and piano between 1878 and 1888. The Sonata in G Major is an astonishing “first” by any standard; it is a tender work full of lyricism and sacred repose. The A Major Sonata radiates intimacy and gentility, while the Scherzo movement (Sonatensatz) is driven by youthful energy. The powerful Sonata in D minor explores a more varied emotional landscape wrought with passion, urgency, and restlessness. This cycle of masterpieces occupy their own rarefied world of brilliant construction and exquisite beauty, qualities synonymous with all of Brahms’s music.
Saturday, March 30
Trio Céleste with guest artist Bill Kalinkos
Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and French composer Olivier Messiaen were both deeply affected by the tragedies of World War II. Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 was composed in the midst of the War, and like many of his works, seems to comment on the tenor of the times with eerie instrumental effects and a tortured “Dance of Death.” Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time contains some of the most ethereally beautiful music from the last century. It was first premiered on a freezing January night in 1941 at a prisoner-of-war camp in Görlitz, Germany where the composer was held captive. Messiaen wrote in the preface of the score that the work was inspired by a text from the Book of Revelations:
And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire… and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth… And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever… that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished…
About Kevin Kwan Loucks