Orange County's main regional newspaper, the Orange County Weekly, went as far as comparing a visit to the the 2008 California Biennial with being a child on Christmas morning. The art critic Greg Stacy's verdict: "The place is packed with art, making the previous OCMA biennials look like those sad little deals in which some guy sets up a lawn chair in the parking lot of a gas station and tries to sell framed prints of crashing waves and baskets of kittens." The reviewer especially appreciated the biennial's emphasis on political art, which he found "potent," "startling," and "effective."
Christopher Knight, the Los Angeles Times' art critic, was not completely convinced by the show. Although he saw many fascinating installations, video works, and paintings at the OCMA-he was especially fond of Daniel J. Martinez' animatronic sculpture Ishmael- Knight's impression of the 24 off-site presentations in Tijuana, San Francisco, and L.A. remained ambivalent: "The effort fits the show's loose theme of art's social and political engagements. In effect, though, it dilutes rather than enhances the biennial experience."
On the other hand, The Orange County Register, the region's daily newspaper, found the extended scope of the 2008 California Biennial very appealing. This was one reason why the work of the biennial's "bright young curator" Lauri Firstenberg amazed art critic Richard Yang, who felt that she'd brought "fresh perspectives to the exhibition."
The upscale Californian arts magazine art ltd. was also impressed by the "ambitious, sprawling, defiantly unthemed, and intergenerational" biennial. For the magazine's editor George Melrod, Lauri Firstenberg's work came off as highly innovative. Melrod was amazed by her "thoughtful yet expansive curatorial approach," which seemed "more intimate and experimental than set forth by most museums"-a sentiment that is mirrored by most press reactions to the remarkable biennial. Or, as the Orange County Weekly's Greg Stacy proclaimed, "Too Much Good Stuff!"