Two Schools of Cool

Event Date: October 9, 2011 – January 22, 2011


Two Schools of Cool:  Established Los Angeles artists work with a new generation to create collaborative, experimental works.

October 9, 2011 – January 22, 2012

July 2011—This Fall the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) opens a unique exhibition titled Two Schools of Cool. OCMA’s history is rooted in Los Angeles art and artists of the 1960s and 1970s. Two Schools of Cool reexamines a group of these artists, pairing elder statesmen of cool with artists from a new generation that mostly emerged in Los Angeles beginning in 2000. The exhibition provides the two generations with space to explore, experiment, and provoke through collaborative projects. The exhibition is a lab that espouses similarities between the generations as well as changes and shifts in the art world over the last four decades, including the increasing prominence of female artists, distinct methodologies, and the use of new technologies. The culminating exhibition presents five distinct installations, each conceived, developed, and created by a pair of artists.

The collaborating artist teams are: John Baldessari and Shana Lutker, Llyn Foulkes and Stanya Kahn, George Herms and Sarah Cain, Allen Ruppersberg and Amanda Ross-Ho, and Robert Williams and Ed Moses. The exhibition will include select public programs during the run of the exhibition, including artist talks, performances and workshops.

The mixed media projects, developed in the months leading up to the exhibition, include a video and sound installation, a participatory installation involving choice and selection; a site specific installation incorporating wall painting, found objects, assemblage, paintings, text and works on paper; an artist- curated installation of paintings in which each artist will provide a critique of the other’s practice in the form of wall text as well as a public dialogue. The installations incorporate elements contributed by each artist, and are discrete collaborative projects as determined and outlined together by the pair.

In 2009, OCMA curator Sarah Bancroft was invited by the Fellows of Contemporary Art to apply for their 2011 Curators Grant. The concept of Two Schools of Cool was born out of this invitation. Calling on the rich history of artists working in Los Angeles, and her desire to work with emerging artists of her own generation, Bancroft proposed an exhibition structure to provide a forum for multi-generational dialogue and experimentation. The artist pairs are encouraged to respond to the similarities and distinctions between their practices, and reveal the affinities and fissures between and amongst them.

Curator Sarah Bancroft explains,“I previously worked at the Guggenheim Museum with the late Walter Hopps—the renowned curator who worked in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s—and from him gained insight into the history of the LA art world. For the Fellows, I proposed an exhibition that would engage a generation of artists who emerged and were active during Walter’s early history here as well as with younger artists working in Los Angeles from my own generation. The exhibition responds to and espouses the changing landscape of artists in these environs, and is very much an artistic and curatorial lab. Many of these artists had never chosen to collaborate before, and the experience has been an intervention in their own artistic practices as well as my own.”

Two Schools of Cool complements the concurrent exhibition State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970 that is presented as part of the Southern California, region-wide initiative Pacific Standard Time Whereas State of Mind illuminates a rich moment in the history of art-making circa 1970, Two Schools of Cool is one of the few exhibitions opening this fall to feature contemporary work by many of these same artists, who are working alongside compelling younger artists in Los Angeles today. These two OCMA-organized exhibitions add significantly to the history of contemporary art in Southern California.


Exhibition catalog
A fully illustrated catalog that includes an introductory essay by curator Sarah Bancroft and extensive interviews with the artist pairs, as well as biographical information, accompanies the exhibition. Serving as a document of the exhibition, the catalog will be released in December 2011 to allow for final installation photographs of the exhibition.

Exhibition Credit
Two Schools of Cool is organized by the Orange County Museum of Art and curated by Sarah C. Bancroft. The exhibition was initiated and is sponsored by the Fellows of Contemporary Art. Additional support is provided by the Beall Family Foundation.

Museum Information
The Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach is located at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Beach, CA. Hours are 11 am to 5 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, with extended hours Thursdays from 11 am to 8 pm. Admission is $12 adults; $10 seniors and students; children twelve and under and OCMA members are free. All facilities are handicapped accessible. For more information, call 949.759.1122 or visit


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