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If you are driving south along the coast for the day from L.A., this gallery is ideally situated near the popular Fashion Island shopping center, not even a mile from the Pacific Coast Highway. The subject of much controversy among Orange County's art crowd over the past few years, the museum expanded to almost double its original size when the Newport Harbor Art Museum (same location) and the Laguna Art Museum consolidated to form this larger complex, scandalizing the art-loving Laguna Beach community. The permanent collection focuses on late 20th-century and California art, but the museum enjoys exhibitions that have included works from artists such as Rico Lebrun and Pablo Picasso. The Plein Air Café serves lunch, and a meal will earn you free admission to the museum.
Located on California State University Fullerton, the Campus Sculpture Collection is an outdoor display scattered throughout the campus. From bizarre to artistic, these sculptures often have a whimsical tone and are made from everything from wax to steel to fiberglass. Walk through the campus to take a look at the artwork, including the Sea Bee which was created from a salvaged fuel ship and it looks like a ship is sinking into the lawn. Some other notable works include Fallen David, a replica of Michelangelo’s David that was broken into pieces during an earthquake of 1987, Arise by Eric Goulder and Lloyd Hamrol's Redoubling Wallpath, to name a few.
Sculpture by Richard MacDonald is the focus of this gallery. MacDonald is a native Californian and one of the most collected living sculptors in the United States. His bronze sculptures bring to mind the craftsmanship of times past. His works are highlighted in museums and galleries all over the world, and he has his own galleries not just in Laguna Beach, but also in Monterey and San Francisco. Other artists featured in the gallery include Robert Heindel, Marc Whitney, and Ann Jian Wang.
While in Laguna Beach, be sure to visit the oceanfront gallery of Wyland, an artist well-known for his paintings of marine life. Nicknamed the "Marine Michelangelo," the first thing you'll be amazed by is the variety of mediums used in his art. Murals are seen on the exterior walls while bronze sculptures loom over the front entrance. The inside overflows with even more: Lucite sculptures, acrylic sculptures, oil paintings, abstract art, brush art, photographs, bronze tables, portholes and mirrors.