This vibrant exhibition of works from the 1960s evokes the sometimes forgotten diversity of the decade. The present exhibition focuses on graphic works, but includes some paintings, sculpture, and other objects, such as a large rug by Victor Vasarely, a cardboard model for a sculpture by Claes Oldenburg, and a kinetic sculpture or two. A number of the graphic pieces derive from portfolios produced in 1968 by SMS studio, an innovative project organized by William Copley, a Surrealist painter who believed in the unity of art and life. Included also are plans for works never executed, for in the 60s such ideas also began to count as art.
Critical essays abounded during the 60s, contributing to the intellectual verve of the decade, but also to what has been seen as an over-abundance of labels, of grouping and categorizing artists into “movements,” which through their definitions restricted a given artists’ artistic choices. ‘Abstract Expressionism’ continued into the 60s, for many of its stronger members from both ‘gestural’ and ‘color-field’ camps, continued to paint during the decade. Among the critics of painting, color field was receiving more attention than gesture, no doubt because fields of color fulfilled a formalist insistence on flatness as articulated by Greenburg more readily than did painterly gestures, which evoked a more traditional illusionistic space with distinction between figure and ground.
From the foreword by Dr. Susan H. Caldwell
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