Exhibitions

Please note: The City of Irvine continues to follow state and federal health and safety guidelines to protect the public against COVID-19 infection. Face coverings are recommended, and required in certain settings as outlined in the California Department of Public Health Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.

 


 

The Palm Court Arts Complex is home to the Great Park Gallery and the Great Park Artist Studios. 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.

Learn more about exhibitions at the Irvine Fine Arts Center here.
Learn more about exhibitions at City Hall here

As part of the City of Irvine’s Fine Arts Program, the Great Park Gallery and Artist Studios present a varied exhibition program from year to year, with shows scheduled 12 to 24 months in advance. For more information, see the Exhibition Proposal Requirement form here.

Great Park Gallery

Thursdays & Fridays: Noon–4 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free Admission


UPCOMING EXHIBITION

Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light   

Exhibition Opening: Sunday, May 29, 1–3 p.m.
Exhibition: May 29–August 28
 

From his studio in the Southern California desert, Phillip K. Smith III creates light-based work that draws upon ideas of space, color, environment, and change. Smith is known for his large-scale public installations that have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.  
 
Collected by museums and clients around the world and featured in hundreds of online and print publications, his notable installations include Lucid Stead in Joshua Tree, California; Reflection Field and Portals at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival; Detroit Skybridge in Detroit, Michigan; Open Sky in Milan, Italy; and his most recent project Parallel Perpendicular in West Hollywood, California. Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light gives viewers an inside look at the impact of large-scale public art in shared spaces and the power of light in the public realm through 3D model displays, photographic documentation, video, and narrative.

Lean more about Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Works, a minimalist installation showcasing small-scale static artworks, on display in the Artist Studios in conjunction with Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Lighthere.

Great Park Artist Studios

Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free admission
*Great Park’s Artist Studios is subject to closures due to private event rentals and/or larger city-wide events.
 

UPCOMING EXHIBITION

Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Works

May 29–August 28

Running in conjunction with the Great Park Gallery exhibition Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light, this minimalist installation showcases small-scale static artworks by contemporary artist Phillip K. Smith III. Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Works features a selection of wall-mounted and free-standing sculptures that highlight the purity of light. Unlike the large-scale public artworks featured in the Gallery exhibition, this installation provides viewers with intimate viewing experiences of pure forms that rely on the interplay of light and shadows to produce optical experiences.

Learn more about Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light, on display in the Great Park Gallery in conjunction with Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Workshere.

ONGOING

MCAS El Toro: Life on the Base

Marine Corps Air Station El Toro opened in 1943 giving opportunities to young men and women who would come to call the base and surrounding areas home. While their days included the expected activities of life on a military base, their free time and recreational activities were fun and diverse. Through a curated selection of photographs, MCAS El Toro: Life on the Base will provide a glimpse into the recreational lives led by the men and women who served at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.  

Kiel Johnson: A View of MCAS El Toro

Kiel Johnson is an internationally recognized artist who is known for his meticulous work in cardboard. On display in the Great Park’s Artist Studios is Johnson’s large-scale 3D topographical map of what was once Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Johnson’s recreation is an interpretation of several maps representing MCAS El Toro which span from 1942-1999, sparking ideas that relate to memory, history, and legacy.

Image credit: Kiel Johnson  

Hangar 244

Thursdays & Fridays: Noon–4 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
*Great Park’s Hangar 244 is subject to closures due to private event rentals and/or larger city-wide events.

**Hangar 244 will be closed Thursday, May 12, and Friday, May 13, due to interior painting. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Special Exhibition

1971: Building Irvine

In 1971 the City of Irvine became an incorporated city by the State of California, enabling it to become the thriving city we know today. In collaboration with University California, Irvine, Hangar 244 at the Great Park presents 1971: Building Irvine. Through historic photography and text, this exhibition celebrates community milestones, landmarks, and spaces built after 1971 while recognizing the past that brought us here. 

Ongoing Exhibitions

MCAS El Toro, 2003

In 2003, a group of six photographers branded as The Legacy Project, set out to document the transition of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro into the Great Park. Located in the History Room of Hangar 244, these photographs capture MCAS El Toro, archiving the buildings and structures on the base before construction would commence. 

Opening Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro

Construction of Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro began on August 3, 1942, on land previously owned by the Irvine Company. The runways and taxiways were completed by December 1, 1942, and all squadron hangars were complete by January 15, 1943.

These photos, taken by Bob Blankman, a history archivist and member of the first unit stationed at El Toro, capture the building of the base.

Closing Marine Corps Air Station El Toro

In 1993, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro was designated for closing by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and all of its activities were to be transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The station officially closed on July 2, 1999.

Since 2002, the Legacy Project has documented the transformation of the former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro into the Orange County Great Park. They have created more than 200,000 images and famously turned a giant jet hangar into the world’s largest camera and used it to take the world’s largest picture.

These photos capture the Flying Bull insignia around the military base and its buildings.

Coordinates

This photography collection from the Legacy Project highlights seven former MCAS El Toro buildings, their purpose when the base was open, and their coordinates.

The Legacy Project is comprised of artists Mark Chamberlain, Clayton Spada, Jacques Garnier, Robert Johnson, and Douglas McCulloh.

A Guide to Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro

A Guide to Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro is a documentary about the history of the region.

This 9-minute archive will take you on a retrospective journey from the early days of the Irvine family’s prodigious ranching and agricultural projects, to the coming of World War II and the subsequent arrival of Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro.

The film screens every 20 minutes in the History Room hallway of Hangar 244.