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Old and new meet cool

Exhibit at Orange County Museum of Art hosts exhibition of new experimental works created by five intergenerational pairs of artists.

October 06, 2011|By Imran Vittachi

From the older pool of artists, Bancroft matched Herms and four of his contemporaries — John Baldessari, Ed Moses, Allen Ruppersberg and Llyn Foulkes — respectively with five younger artists: Sarah Cain, Shana Lutker, Robert Williams, Amanda Ross-Ho and Stanya Kahn.

Herms, Baldessari, Moses, Ruppersberg and Foulkes all are being feted under the Pacific Standard Time program, which focuses on how Southern Californians on the cutting-edge of art-making for their generation contributed to post-war American art until 1980. Older works by Baldessari and Ruppersberg that help frame that period also will be featured at "State of Mind." Herms' "The Librarian" is part of a PST exhibit that opened at the Getty on Oct. 1.

Among the intergenerational works going on display at OCMA, viewers can participate in a mixed-media installation by Baldessari and Lutker. One by one while being videotaped, viewers will be asked to rearrange some objects laid out on two tables. Viewers can see an installation by Ruppersberg and Russ-Ho featuring a giant binder, a green pedestal and slideshow with moving images and sounds.


They can also see very similar sets of paintings by Moses and Williams, who critique each others' work. According to Bancroft, Moses and Williams come from "opposite ends of the artistic spectrum."

Williams, for one, is a painter and illustrator who previously carved out a reputation as an underground cartoonist contributing to the fringe publication, Zap Comix, which produced the likes of Robert Crumb.

However, in the case of Herms — whom Bancroft paired with Sarah Cain, a 32-year-old Los Angeles artist — there were some strong similarities in their artistic practices, the curator said.

In separate interviews, both Herms and Cain, who have known each since 2005, spoke of a common love of language and a tendency to explore and experiment with words.

Cain described Herms as a kindred spirit who was generous in collaborating with her on the project and who treated her as a peer.

"Basically, we have a real love for living and a poetic approach to life," she said.

For his part, Herms described the collaboration as more of a "corroboration" and a "ping pong game," in which the two artists bounced ideas and elements of the project back-and-forth.

Their collective work, titled "Korral," comprises a number of abstract pieces made by each artist that appear to intersect in the middle of the space.

Cain's work breaks different planes. For example, one of her paintings in the piece continues from the canvas onto the wall and floor.

Herms calls one of the pieces that he contributed to the project "Lemon Bar."

The piece, which has nothing to do with citrus fruit in the literal sense, actually is an array of five different assemblage sculptures, including four that he made in his friend's backyard in Irvine.

"I make sculptures that fall over and I have thoughts that fly away," Herms said, divulging the story behind the piece's name. "So the sculptures that fall over, if that's my style, then a sculpture that does not fall over, is a lemon …. None of these fall over, so therefore we have something called the 'Lemon Bar.'"

If You Go:

What: "Two Schools of Cool"

Where: Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach

When: From Oct. 9 through Jan. 22

For museum hours and tickets: Go to, or call (949) 759-1122

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