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The Laguna Art Museum is in Laguna Beach, just off PCH and near the ocean, making it one of the best-located museums in Orange County. Just based on three stellar exhibitions during the past year that couldn't be more different from one another—the sublime "Noguchi: California Legacy," the revelatory "Best Kept Secret: UCI and the Development of Contemporary Art in Southern California, 1964-1971" and the brilliant "Victor Hugo Zayas: Mi Obra"—we're glad to high-five the Laguna Art Museum. This is one of the most eclectic exhibit venues in Southern California, and its shows are almost always worth a visit. Recently, it has presented career retrospectives of underrated Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, loco local boy Shag and hippie-graphics great Rick Griffin. But the just-concluded exhibit "In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz Factor" went to a whole new level. It was an exhibit that'll be written about in textbooks decades from now, when today's wild, kooky art-world outsiders have become the establishment for a new generation of angry loners to rail against.
Laguna Art Museum is a museum of California art. Its purpose is to provide the public with exposure to art and to promote understanding of the role of art and artists in American culture through collection, conservation, exhibition, research, scholarship and education. Working within the tradition of the oldest cultural institution in Orange County, Laguna Art Museum documents regional art and places it in a national context. The museum maintains its historic ties to the community and is responsive, accessible, and relevant to the area’s diverse population. The museum’s exhibitions, catalogues, and educational activities illustrate an ongoing examination of California art, which includes historical and contemporary art. Through collections, publications, and research on the art of California, Laguna Art Museum promotes understanding of the role of California art and artists in the development of the visual arts nationally and internationally.