Looking at the Collection: Celebrating the 1960s

Chan Gallery
June 23 – September 29, 2019

image caption: Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Moonwalk (Pink), 1987, Silkscreen print (edition of 160), 38×38 in. Museum purchase, funds provided by the Madison County Federation of Women’s Clubs from the 1987 sale of the Steamboat Gothic House.

Following World War II, the movement known as Abstract Expressionism came to dominate the art world. Artists of this movement emphasized emotions over objectivity in their works, welcoming accident and chance. None represented the movement more than Jackson Pollock, whose oversized drip paintings became the most celebrated works of his day.

But it wasn’t long before a brash group of young artists rebelled against all that Pollock represented. During the 1960s, the new movements of Pop, Minimalism and Photorealism approached artmaking in a cool, calculated and impersonal manner. Pop artists focused upon familiar images like comic strips and supermarket products. Minimalists pared down their works to essential shapes and colors, often painting with invisible brushstrokes. Photorealists based their works exclusively on camera imagery, which they replicated with deadpan precision. These movements reacted against the elitism of most fine art by celebrating the commercial, sensational, and even vulgar sides of everyday modern life.

Looking at the Collection: Celebrating the 1960s features a selection of Pop, Minimalist, and Photorealist works from the Museum’s permanent collection, executed by American artists who rose to prominence during this momentous decade. Included are works by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, and Richard Estes — all of whom epitomize the unique spirit that defines the decade of the 1960s.