Fred Tomaselli, Irwin’s Garden, 2023, acrylic, photo collage, leaves, and resin on wood panel, 48 x 48 inches, courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York, © 2024 Fred Tomaselli. Photography: Dan Bradica Studio.


What's it all about?

For Fred Tomaselli, the natural beauty and fantasy culture of his native Southern California have always inspired and informed his explorations in life and in art. A Cal State University Fullerton graduate (BA, 1982, Painting and Drawing), Tomaselli has lived and worked in New York since 1985, where he developed his trademark style: crafting mashups of explosive and hallucinatory images and patterns into resin paintings that suspend collaged and hand-painted elements within layers of clear resin. The tension wrought by his fusion of materials and ideas is seductive and unnerving. Through his work, Tomaselli wrestles with the calamities of the moment: the pandemic, police brutality, race relations, climate emergency and other pressing issues.  The results are pointed towards the full spectrum of 20th– and 21st-century life, from its ugliness to what is absolutely sublime.


Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature features nearly 50 new and recent works that highlight the varied and wide-ranging intersections of art, nature, popular culture and current events that run through his practice.


Tomaselli’s resin paintings will be presented alongside selections from his New York Times series—marking the start and progression of the Coronavirus and the worldwide pandemic it caused. Drawing on and altering the front pages of the daily newspaper, these works mark the passage of time and document in diaristic fashion the urgent issues of the days, weeks and months unfolding throughout the world.


Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature is organized by Laguna Art Museum and guest curated by Rochelle Steiner.  Generous support for the exhibition provided by Elie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg. Generous support for the publication provided by James Cohan Gallery.



Fred Tomaselli was born in California (Santa Monica, 1956), and has lived in Brooklyn since 1985. Solo exhibitions include Fred Tomaselli at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha (2019); After California at the Oceanside Museum of Art (2018); Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds at the Toledo Museum of Art (2016); Focus at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2014); The Times at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor (2014) and the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California (2015); Monsters of Paradise at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh (2004); New Paintings at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo (2003); and Gravity’s Rainbow at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris (1999). The survey exhibition Fred Tomaselli opened at Aspen Art Museum in 2009 and toured to the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in Sarasota Springs, New York, and the Brooklyn Museum in 2010.


Tomaselli has participated in international exhibitions—including the Biennale of Sydney (2010), Prospect.1 New Orleans (2008), the fifth SITE Santa Fe, and the Whitney Biennial (both 2004)—and his works are in the collections of museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.



Dr. Rochelle Steiner is a Los Angeles–based curator, writer and educator, and serves as a Curatorial Fellow for Laguna Art Museum. Previously, she was chief curator and director of public programs and education at Palm Springs Art Museum; associate director and chief curator at Vancouver Art Gallery; director of the Public Art Fund, New York; chief curator at the Serpentine Gallery, London; and associate curator of contemporary art, Saint Louis Art Museum. She has curated monographic exhibitions of the works of Glenn Brown, John Currin, Gabriel Orozco, Elizabeth Peyton, Cindy Sherman, Gary Simmons, Monika Sosnowska and Rirkrit Tiravanija as well as forthcoming exhibitions on Carole Caroompas, Lari Pittman and Fred Tomaselli. Her recent publications include Sarah Charlesworth (DelMonico•Prestel, 2017) and Do Ho Suh Drawings (DelMonico•Prestel, 2014).


Exhibition Sponsors

Laguna Art Museum thanks our exhibition sponsors.


Generous support for the exhibition provided by Elie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg. Generous support for the publication provided by James Cohan Gallery.


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