Going Back to The Sixties

“Crazy,” acrylics on canvas, 24×36″

First, check this out! Art Talk Video

The Sixties was the decade of “culture,” where the rise of counterculture and social questioning and for that matter, revolution began. This era highlighted the demands of individual freedom of expression and participation. Furthermore, The Sixties was  the birthplace of the nonprofit arts movement. What I particularly find the most appealing about this era is the explosion of colours and its kaleidoscopic influences on the arts, which evolved into four main art movements:

1) Pop Art

In the 1960s young artists in the United States and England made popular culture their subject matter by appropriating images and objects such as common household items, celebrity icons, fast food, cartoons, and mass-media imagery from television, magazines and newspapers. The Pop Art style sought to test the boundaries between art and life. Andy Warhol is one of the well-known artists of this movement.

2) Minimalism

This movement dominated much of the art practice in the United States, especially in New York. Minimal artists were interested in reductive forms and sought to create pure, geometric, abstract art in which the physical properties of space, scale and materials were explored. Numerous minimalist artists used industrial materials such as aluminum, plywood, sheet metal and Plexiglas. They challenged the notion of what constituted “fine art” and shared the Pop artists’ interest in using non-art materials. The spirit of experimentation and pushing the boundaries of art-making was characteristic of the general countercultural sentiment of The Sixties. Donald Judd is one such minimalist artist.

3) 1960s art overseas

During the 1960s distinct art movements took place overseas, notably in countries such as Italy, Japan, and Germany. The Arte Povera (“poor art”) movement referred to a group of postwar Italian artists who emphasized the process of making art over the end product; and—like the Pop artists—used deliberately impoverished or commonplace materials. Michelangelo Pistoletto is a leading figure of the Arte Povera movement. Though his works appear to be made from mirrors, Pistoletto uses highly polished stainless-steel panels to which he applies painted tissue-paper cut outs (with paint facing down) in a way that suggests photographic reproduction.

One controversial artist of this era was Austrian artist, Otto Muehl. Besides being a sex convict, he was known for his aesthetic—the destruction process (not surprisingly). He inverted the common rules in the arts and throve on taboos as his motivation. For example, Muehl started his paintings by spreading them on the floor, then set them on fire and proceeded to attack and destroy the picture surface by slitting the canvas, demolishing the frames and integrating various objects—such as rags, stockings, paper, cigarettes and nails—into the paint. Is this worthy of recognition?

4) Fluxus

Taking its name from the Latin word for “flow,” the international Fluxus movement advocated purging the world of bourgeois, commercial and professional art. Fluxus artists valued a do-it-yourself aesthetic, using whatever materials were on hand and choosing simplicity over complexity. They celebrated the banal and the mundane in direct opposition to the subjects traditionally considered worthy of “high” or fine art. Artists during this movement created innumerable games, jokes, and gags, from large-scale, multi-player scenarios to more individualized setups. Artists used humor to undermine the seriousness of fine art, embracing irreverence, chance and ordinary actions. The most popular artist of this movements is Yoko Ono.

What is your favourite art movement? Reflecting on The Sixties, my favourite movement is Pop Art, which I think is still relevant today. Artists continue to appropriate images and objects in order to express themselves. At the same time, they hope to predict the next art movement.  As curators and artists seek for the new movement, I believe The Sixties will live on in the artist’s heart forever! On that note, check out my NEW paintings below and the music that inspired these art works!

The Music behind the Art:

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7 replies »

  1. I really enjoyed your ‘Women’ section on the grandportfolio site! What a wonderful series of artworks! I’ll add your blog to my RSS feed once I get home, to stay connected 😉

  2. Aaahhhh, the 60s were a crazy wonderful blur, and I really feel your paintings capture the feeling of it all. Great work.

  3. The Sixties…my all-time favorite era. From the personal style of music and fashion, to the artwork, it perfectly encompasses all my favorite things. Lots of color and soul. And Andy Warhol is among my top 5 favorite artists EVER, so yeah. ha ha. Awesome entry, and a great blog! 😀

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