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Press Release

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Friday, July 5, 2019


Sallie Wiggins
Media Contact
757-425-0000 ex. 315

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA — July 5 — The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) will present the first solo museum exhibition by artist Michael Kagan. Bringing together key paintings from the past decade along with new works, the exhibition Michael Kagan: I Was There When It Happened traces the artist’s lifelong interest in technology, space, and innovation.

Kagan’s artwork speaks to the intersection of contrasts. He paints in thick forceful brushstrokes that seem chaotic but are calculated to form cohesive, realistic images when viewed at a distance. Once applied, Kagan does not alter his brushstroke. This commitment to the initial application is emblematic of the gravity of choices and errors in his storylines of space exploration.

Using NASA photographs as source material, Kagan’s paintings have a cinematic quality. They celebrate the tension between humanity and technology, the limitations and triumphs of man, and knowledge that an error in that quest for victory could result in the ultimate sacrifice. Kagan says, "I grew up looking at pictures of the moon through a telescope with my father. I went to Space Camp as a child, so I think this idea was always there to make these iconic paintings and imagery about space."

Michael Kagan: I Was There When It Happened is organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Alison Byrne, Director of Exhibitions and Education. 

In conjunction with the exhibition, MOCA will publish a monographic exhibition catalogue Michael Kagan: I Was There When It Happened with text contributions by Alison Byrne, Matthew Israel, Bill Powers, and Pharrell Wiliams, to be distributed by D.A.P.

Michaal Kagan PR Images and Credit Lines

ABOUT MICHAEL KAGAN: Michael Kagan studied at George Washington University in Washington, D.C (2003) and the New York Academy of Art in New York (2005). Collections that hold his work include Fidelity Investments Corporate Contemporary Art Collection; NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin, Lloyd Thornburg Collection, Mark Parker Collection, Rus Yusupov Collection, and the Yusaku Maezawa Collection. He is represented by Over the Influence Gallery in Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Kagan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. 

ABOUT MOCA: The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), located in Virginia Beach, is a non-profit that exists to foster awareness, exploration and understanding of the significant art of our time. MOCA is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). As Virginia’s only museum dedicated solely to the exhibition of contemporary art, MOCA encourages visitors to discover and explore art and to engage in hands-on art experiences. 

ON VIEW AT MOCA | September 21, 2019 – February 16, 2020
Michael Kagan: I Was There When It Happened 
Echard Wheeler: In Stillness

MOCA is located at 2200 Parks Ave., at the entrance of I-264 in Virginia Beach. The museum is open Tue-Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sat-Sun 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for seniors/65+, students (includes children 5 and up) and active military. MOCA members and children four and under are admitted free of charge.

Image credit: Michael Kagan, I Was There When It Happened, 2018. Oil on linen. 96 x 72 inches.
Collection of Jacob Arabov. © Michael Kagan