The Avant-Garde Collection

The Avant-Garde Collection

September 7, 2014 – January 4, 2015

The Avant-Garde Collection traces the museum’s fifty-year history and rich holdings of modern and contemporary art through the lens of the changing definition of avant-garde. Taken at its most literal, the “avant-garde” is a historical phenomenon that refers to a time when art and its creators disrupted the status quo.

Drawn entirely from OCMA’s collection, this exhibition features approximately 100 artworks—including painting, sculpture, assemblage, installation art, and video in myriad styles—that speak to the reactionary spirit of the avant-garde. Each work depicts a decisive break from an existing order of representation and technique, signaling yet another transfer of the avant-garde burden onto the shoulders of the next generation.

 The Avant-Garde Collection combines the retroactive gaze that enables us to determine which artists transcended the avant-garde of their time and reconsiders works that may have been visible in their heyday but have since slipped from view, awaiting future scholarly reassessment.

This exhibition was organized by the Orange County Museum of Art and curated by Dan Cameron and Fatima Manalili.

Chris Burden, Tale of Two Cities (detail), 1981; mixed media installation; Museum purchase with funds provided through prior gift of Ben C. Deane, 1987.002. The Avant-Garde Collection, 2014; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA. Photo: Bliss Photography.
The Avant-Garde Collection, 2014; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA. Photo: Bliss Photography.
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