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George Herms

L.A. Louver

George Herms has explored many different media over the years—painting, sculpture, collage, performance, photography, and poetry—but he is perhaps best known for his assemblages. Like the Surrealist object poets (particularly André Breton), Herms is able to combine elements of strict formalism, appropriated language, and random placement to create works that appear self-contained, even inevitable, yet also part of a broader program that is completely personal and often quite illogical. His inventive recycling of discarded junk makes one initially think of artists such as Ed Kienholz and Joseph Cornell, but Herms’ sensibility is actually quite different. He more closely resembles a Beat Generation poet playing postbop jazz, not with a saxophone or trumpet, but with a visual system of signs that is equal parts metaphor, mysticism, and pure abstraction.

His latest exhibition was an unsentimental

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