Curator Sarah Bancroft, with some of the Biennial artists
Curator Sarah Bancroft, with some of the Biennial artists
Chivan Wang/OCMA

Touch My Junket: OCMA's 2010 California Biennial Artist Announcement

Few people know that being an Art Whore is a glamorous profession.
You see lots of Art for free. 
Curators tell you gossip off the record.
You hob-nob with young, vibrant artists. 
You get invited to press junkets and offered free food.
In recession-era America, free food is important.
The down side? 
Can't think of one.
I'm seated next to Sarah Bancroft, the talented young curator of this year's Biennial, and five of the artists involved: former Santa Ana resident Carlee Fernandez, Brian Dick, UCI graduate Juan Capistran, Sherin Guirguis and Futurama animator Jason Plapp of Finishing School. Everyone is personable and friendly, the caffeine in the ice tea getting everyone chatty, the conversation drifting from mundane topics like marriage (with most everyone at the table hitched or headed towards the altar over the next months) to the dearth of OC artists involved in the show (more about that in next week's blog when Art Whore hosts an e-mail conversation with Ms. Bancroft).
We talk about the rarity of women curators, especially ones with families: "It's not a 9 to 5 job. It really isn't," says the single Bancroft. 
"Sleep is so over-rated," adds Fernandez. 
Bancroft tells us she won't follow in the footsteps of predecessors and do any repeats of previous Biennial invitees. "It seems counter-intuitive to invite people who've already been in the exhibition," says Dick. 
"I thought so," Bancroft says, wrily.
Preferring to focus on emerging talent is a welcome trait from any passionate curator hoping to shake things up a bit and I'm excited and impressed that she's traveled to almost 150 studios to gather the 45 artists involved: "There is nothing more exciting for me than to do studio visits."
How does she even begin to keep that many individual artists straight? "Everyone has a file," she tells me, and explains that there's always an epiphanic moment when she's looking at the artist's work or talking with them that sets those she invited to participate apart from the other 100-plus. 
I ask if it's all new work, and she tells me that the artist's roster will involve both already existing and site-specific work from my table-mates, as well as as the artists below. (Click on the links provided to get an idea of the diversity of Bancroft's eclectic taste): 


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