THE AVANT-GARDE COLLECTION, Orange County Museum of Art
Exhibition through January 4, 2015
The Avant-Garde Collection traces the museum’s acquisitions highlights across five decades, with a specific focus on the evolving definition of avant-garde during that period. In the 1960s it was cutting-edge to employ imagery from popular culture, and by the 1970s performance and installation were the bywords of innovation. In the 1980s new media and appropriation appeared on everybody’s radar for the first time, while the 1990s in retrospect were all about identity politics and post-colonialism. Due to the pluralist tendencies of the 21st century that make the notion of avant-garde seem quaint, the challenge for artists to produce work that conceals the influence of generations past is more demanding than ever. Drawn entirely from OCMA’s collection, the selection's underlying premise is to combine the retroactive gaze that enables us to determine which artists transcended the avant-garde of their time and which did not, with an historical effort to reconsider works that may have been visible in their heyday but have since slipped from view, there awaiting future scholarly reassessment.