Art Since the 1960s Welcome to the Orange County Museum of Art. Is this the first time everyone has been to this museum? My name is ---- and I am -----. Today you will be experiencing our museum collection Art Since the 1960s: California Experiments, which explores the origins of West Coast contemporary art. Many of the artists we will be seeing emerged in the 1950s and 60s at some of the top art schools and universities in California. These schools welcomed innovative art—including video, performance and installation art. OCMA, previously known as the Newport Harbor Museum of Art, was one of the few museums of the time that welcomed these artists and their revolutionary works. This yearlong exhibition was put together by our own Curator of Collections, Karen Moss, who continues to bring museum guests new--up and coming artists, as well as a collection of established artists. So, as we go through the gallery spaces, you will notice the multitude of styles and presentations, but all of these works have one thing in common—experimentation. What do you think of when I say experimentation? It means that these artists were testing an original idea. After WWII, artists wanted to question the ideas behind art. They wanted to ask, what is art? So, these artists began to think ―outside of the box.‖ They used unusual materials, new technologies, and unique concepts to expose shifting cultural views. General Transition: Now that we know these artists liked to think outside of the box, what type of materials do you think the first artist used? Transition into pop-art: The first movement we will see is pop-art. Popular culture exploded in the late 1950s through the 1960s as mass production and mass consumerism climbed to the top of everyone’s list. You will notice how pop-art mimicked this idea of mass production by reproducing objects used in everyday life. What objects do you think they reproduced? Pop Art Joe Goode One Year Old, 1961 Goode‘s name is synonymous with Los Angeles, but he was actually born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He came to California to study at Chouinard Art Institute (California Institute of the Arts), and this was where he was introduced to abstract expressionism, which is a type of style that yielded very emotional works of art using shapes and colors. But Goode has also been labeled a pop-artist by many critics. What else do you notice about this work? The background, the color, the placement of objects. What makes this work different from traditional paintings you have seen? This piece has two elements to it. A 3-D element and a 2-d element. Part sculpture, part painting. Does not have a background, mid-ground, foreground. How is this work considered pop art? The milk bottle in this work is a part of the ‗mass production‘ of goods for consumers. Goode has described his works as ‘theatre’. How do you think this is similar to theatre? This work is set up like a stage, the milk bottle is a prop and the canvas is the background. What colors do you see? A tan, light brown, and a pink bottle. There is an actual milk bottle inside, which he painted over with an oil based paint. How does that color make you feel? The colors are very dull and boring. Does it remind you of anything? The brown looks like a wall. Milk bottles were brought to the consumer via the milk man who brought a number of bottles to the doorstep. Today, when we go to the grocery store we still see the same image—gallons of milk lined up on store shelves. May also remind people of chocolate/chocolate milk. Describe the texture on the milk bottle? Goode also describes his works as autobiographical. Why else do you think Goode placed a milk bottle here? The milk bottle serves as a ‗portrait‘ of his new born daughter. Can anyone guess the name of this work? One Year Old. Transition: While the pop-artists reproduced consumer objects, assemblage-artists were unimpressed by the consumerism of the post war era and chose to recycle objects. What do you think artist’s recycled? Conceptual Art Ed Ruscha News, Mews, Pews, Brews, Stews, Dues 1970 Ruscha was born in Nebraska, but spent most of his youth in Oklahoma before he moved to Los Angeles to go to school at Chouinard Art Institute. Do you remember who else attended that art school? Joe Goode. Goode and Ruscha became good friends as they took over the Los Angeles art scene. Ruscha is famous for his iconic LA scenes such as the Hollywood sign or the Twentieth Century-Fox Logo. He is also known as a graphic designer. Can you describe to me what you see here? Words: News, Pews, Brews, Dues. What colors do you see? Neutral; beige, brown, tan, yellows. How do these words make you feel? Because each word is by itself, we get the feeling of isolation. Any guesses as to what font type this is? The type font is gothic script. Does this font remind you of anything? To Ed Rusha this type font reminded him of England. Now that I mentioned that this work connects to England, what do you think each of these words mean? News-England is the center for ‗gossip‘, Pews-cathedrals, Brews-for the drinks, Dues-for all the taxes people have to pay. Does anything in this piece seem unique to you? What do you think the artist used to get these colors? Screened using organic materials Blackcurrant pie filling, salmon roe, pickles, raw egg, chocolate syrup, caviar, axle grease, daffodils, baked beans and tomato paste are among the substances used here instead of the usual printers inks – these unstable mediums have changed colour considerably over time. Does anyone here know what conceptual art is? This is when the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. So the materials and formal elements are secondary to the idea behind the piece. If you could change these words to reflect yourself, what would you chose? Transition: Now that you have experienced conceptual artists that used text as a link between art and language, we will now move on to performance artists who employed their own bodies as works art. Video, Performance, and Feminist Art Lynn Hershman Roberta Breitmore 1974-1978 Hershman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and like many artists of her time, she made her way to the coast of California where she received her Masters of Art degree from San Francisco State University. She has made her mark in a multitude of talents including photography, photo-collage, film, video, conceptual performance, and computer-based interactive installation. What are you seeing on this screen? A woman putting on make-up What is make-up used for? To enhance or hide one‘s features. To change or manipulate. To create a different identity. What makes this a performance piece? The artist is performing, or using her own body as the object of the work What is unique about this work that is different from the other works we saw today? This work is a video piece. Instead of painting or using silk screen, she is using a fairly new technology, the television to create art. Here, Hershman is trying to question identity. How is she questioning identity? Hershman has created a fictional character. She wears wigs, make-up, and different clothing. She has ID and credit cards created. She is no longer herself, but ―Roberta Breitmore. ‖ Hershman even had a Roberta Breitmore impersonator played by Christina Styles, who took over for Hershman when she could not attend parties or events. Why do you think she created an alter ego? Hershman has described this work as, ―A portrait of alienation and loneliness.‖ Although it seems like Roberta Breitmore has an incredible social life, she is really just an fantasy character. If you could create an alter-ego, what would that person be like? Transition: As Hershman used performance art as a method of questioning identity, our next artist used installation art as a means of questioning the state of our environment in settings. Installation Kim Abeles Zoe’s High Chair Abeles was born in Richmond Heights, Missouri. She has traveled to many places including Japan, but it was her move to Los Angeles in 1978 that influenced most of her art work. She noticed urban society‘s impact on the environment, and felt that her installations should reflect her environment. Has anyone heard of installation art before? It is a sculptural piece that uses materials and other media to transform the way we experience a particular space, such as a museum space or outside an apartment balcony. What do you first notice about this piece? This is a high chair. It is a dark-blue green color. There are spikes coming from the seat. There are grey markings. You noticed that this is a high chair. Like Goode, Abeles creates portraits of people using objects. Who do you think this high chair represents? Her child living in a very polluted environment. How do the colors make you feel? Because this color is not exactly blue or green, it looks polluted. What type of feeling do you get when you see the spikes? What about the spikes, why would the artist place spikes on this seat? We saw earlier that there are grey markings on the high chair. What do you think they are? What type of material do you think it is? The grey markings look like food a baby would eat. The material is actually pollution itself. She created a stencil of these objects and let the high chair stay outside to collect dust, dirt, and pollution. What do you think the artist was trying to say by using pollution as a material in her works? Transition: Next, while Abeles used her installation art to build awareness about the environment, our next artist’s neo-conceptual art shows the importance of the idea behind art. Neo-Conceptual Rachel Lachowicz Homage to Carl Andre 1991/1994 Lachowicz is a Los Angeles based artist who attended Cal Arts in Valencia. Many of her works destroy traditional attitudes towards women by appropriating and parodying works from male artists. Can you describe to me what do you see here? I see a many squares next to one another creating a larger square. I also see different shades of red. How does the color effect you? This color is very warm. Passionate. A feminine color. What type of material do you think the artist used? Lipstick and Wax Why do you think the artist used lipstick and wax? Lipstick, is a cosmetic that has over the years been linked to women, and Lachowicz is trying to use this material connected to feminine identity as a means to heroicize women. The artist herself is also quoted saying. ―I landed on lipstick and cosmetics because they allow for that flipping back and forth -- between wanting to be a proper feminist and wanting to objectify myself in the same gesture.‖ Meaning she wants to write women back into the realm of art, where many women have been left behind, but at the same time use herself to become a prominent artist. The wax was added to give this piece some stability. Many people end up walking all over this piece. The title is Homage to Carl Andre, does anyone recognize that name? Andre was another famous artist, and he made a piece similar to this but with steel plates. If you could use a different medium to make this piece, what would you use? Why? Transition into pop-art: The next movement we will see is pop-art. Popular culture exploded in the late 1950s through the1960s as mass production and mass consumerism climbed to the top of everyone’s list. You will notice how pop-art mimicked this idea of mass production by reproducing objects used in everyday life. What objects do you think they reproduced? Thank you for joining me on this tour about Art Since the 1960s. I hope you have enjoyed investigating the unique techniques and materials these artists used to make art throughout the different movements in the last half century. I would like to encourage to you stay and explore the pieces we did not get to examine, and to revisit those pieces that we did.