Orange County Museum of Art's chief curator Dan Cameron stands next to Jay McCafferty's piece "Merge with Dust" in the "OC Collects" show. (SCOTT SMELTZER / December 20, 2012)

"We followed our hearts and eyes and today, many of those artists are well-known. That's a neat reward for us — the knowledge that we were doing the right thing by collecting what we liked versus what people were telling us to buy."

When the Myerses were contacted by the organizers of "OC Collects," they came on board willingly.

"We feel that we are caretakers of the work," he said. "Eventually, the art will go to museums and institutions. We happen to have it in our home now and feel lucky to be able to enjoy it every day. For this reason, we are very open to sharing our work."


From postwar to Warhol

Although McCafferty is a favorite artist of the Myerses, his work was not the only one they contributed to the show. When Cameron visited their home this year, he couldn't take his eyes of a 67-by-67-inch gray- and black-hued painting titled "14th September, 1991."

"As a curator, you have to trust your eye," Cameron said. "Drawn to this painting over and over again, I thought to myself, 'That's the most amazing thing.' I was further intrigued because I didn't know who the artist was."

That day, Cameron discovered Southern California-based graffiti maestro Chaz Bojorquez, who earned two spots at "OC Collects" — one courtesy of the Myerses, and one from another collector, Gerald Buck. The curator called him an "incredible master of his materials [who is able to] do this kind of cutting and create these layers — to make the background look like granite and the front seem like three-dimensional titanium."

"OC Collects" also features renowned art idols, including Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning, international artists such as Palestinian Emily Jacir and South African Robin Rhode, as well as Southern Californian virtuosos like Eric Orr and Roger Kuntz.

"The closer you get to the art of today, it gets more likely that people are going to throw up their hands and say, 'I don't understand,'" Cameron said. "'OC Collects' shows our audience that the line from postwar modern painting to the conceptually based art of today is an unbroken one. There is no rupture or point where art suddenly becomes too crazy or difficult, which is how it's sometimes thought about."

Twitter: @RMahbubani

If You Go

What: "OC Collects"

Where: Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, with extended hours 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 30

Cost: $12 for adults, $10 seniors; free for children under 12 and OCMA members. OCMA is open to the public free of charge the second Sunday of every month.

Information: (949) 759-1122 or