Seascape, Commissioned Artwork for Art & Nature, On Hold


For Immediate Release: November 3, 2017

Media Contact: Cody Lee | 949.494.8971 x211



LAGUNA BEACH, CA (November 3, 2017) — Laguna Art Museum regrets to announce that Seascape, the outdoor artwork created by Mexican artist Pablo Vargas Lugo for the fifth edition of Art & Nature, will not be on view during Art & Nature weekend. In consultation with state resource agencies, the California Coastal Commission has directed the museum to hold off on installing the piece while some environmental issues and concerns are addressed.

The museum’s executive director, Dr. Malcolm Warner, writes:

“As you might imagine, we were in unfamiliar regulatory territory with this particular piece, and have proceeded in the belief that with enthusiastic support from the City and the approvals we secured from the Coastal Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Coast Guard, we could safely go ahead.

As a museum founded by artists who were inspired by nature, and as neighbors of Laguna Beach’s Marine Protected Area, we treasure the beauty of our city’s landscape and seascape. Indeed the theme of Art & Nature is art that takes the beauty of our coastline as its inspiration and encourages environmental awareness. It is strongly educational and includes lectures, panel discussions, and films relating to the art-nature dialogue, as well as a family festival that attracts some 500 children and their families. The museum works closely on the event with local organizations. The participants offering activities in this year’s family festival include, for instance, the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition, the Newport Bay Conservancy, the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, and the Surfrider Foundation.

The event extends outside the museum walls, and this year Laguna Beach High School and the City of Laguna Beach Environmental Sustainability Committee have crafted an installation on Main Beach, entitled Rising Tides, that seeks to foster public consciousness of rising sea levels due to climate change. In tandem, the noted contemporary artist Pablo Vargas Lugo designed an outdoor work of art, commissioned by the museum, that addresses the same issue in a more poetical fashion. As a lonesome-looking streetlight out in the ocean (in fact a buoy-like Styrofoam lookalike), it’s a deliberately surprising and memorable sight that symbolizes the inundation of our cities and highways with sea-level rise—a beacon showing the way we are headed unless we change course. Art can play as powerful a role as facts in conveying the urgency and significance of such an issue.”

The museum will continue to work with the Coastal Commission and the relevant agencies in Sacramento in the hope that there will be a future opportunity to display Seascape. While the outdoor artwork will not be on view during Art & Nature weekend, related programs will take place as scheduled.

About Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art. Its mission is to collect, care for, and exhibit works of art that were created by California artists or represent the life and history of the state. Through its permanent collection, its special loan exhibitions, its educational programs, and its library and archive, the museum enhances the public’s knowledge and appreciation of California art of all periods and styles, and encourages art-historical scholarship in this field.

Laguna Art Museum stands just steps from the Pacific Ocean in the beautiful city of Laguna Beach. The museum is proud to continue the tradition of the Laguna Beach Art Association, founded in 1918 by the early California artists who had discovered the town and transformed it into a vibrant arts community. The gallery that the association built in 1929 is part of today’s Laguna Art Museum.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach, on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Cliff Drive.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays
Closed Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day

General admission: $7.00
Students, seniors (60+), and active military: $5.00
Children under 12: FREE
Museum members: FREE

Media Contact: Cody Lee, Director of Communications | 949.494.8971 x211 |