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The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    The Art of the Sixties Reconsidered

    A brilliantly written, immensely useful guide for the art of the 1960s in America and Britain. There's always the challenge of how to articulate the zeitgeist of an entire decade, especially when that decade was one of the most momentous in terms of shaping the twentieth century, and the art historian Thomas Crow does that remarkably well.

    The book has several color reproductions of works and the writing is in-depth and scholarly, but is also eloquent and engaging for anyone to read and enjoy.

    The sixties was a time of transformation when America evolved into a post-industrial society. This dramatic change is reflected in the work of artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist, and Robert Rauschenberg. Be sure to check out Crow's brilliant analysis of Rauschenberg's Combines from the MoCA exhibition catalogue of 2005.

    Crow's book contains indispensable sections on artists who have been unduly ignored in scholarship--like Bettye Sayr, Asco, and Ed Kienholz. Given that the sixties was the era of the Civil Rights movement, I wanted to read more about the challenges faced by non-white artists of this period.

    The sixties is a complex time to sum up. It saw the eruption of rock music, the dissemination of drugs, the rise of a vocal, politically-conscious youth movement, an intricate, messy conflict in Southeast Asia, and it ended with men walking on the moon. From Richard Hamilton to Donald Judd, Thomas Crow helps us visualize and understand the trajectory of art from this period in a way that few people can.

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