Showcasing Art History: West Coast Stories – Southern Californian art in the 1960s and 1970s: Assemblage, Abstraction, Pop and Moving Image
Vernon Square, Penton Rise, Kings Cross, London
Tuesday 28 April 2020
PLEASE NOTE: This Date Has Passed
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Booking per term only.
Vernon Square, Penton Rise, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 9EW
- Francesca Wilmott
- Dr Elizabeth Buhe
- Tom Day
- Dr Anne Puetz - Short Courses, Courtauld Institute of Art
The summer term lectures will take us to the West Coast of the USA, and in particular to Southern California – an artistic centre quite apart, in its self-image, its institutions and its cultural roots from the generally better-known art-scene of the East Coast.
We shall focus largely on the 1960s and 1970s, a socially and culturally creative period that saw the explosive development of a hedonistic music and counterculture based on new forms of expression and liberation. It was, however, also a time ravaged by the divisive war in Vietnam, the suppression of free speech throughout the country and the continued struggle for civil, queer and feminist rights – the latter represented for instance in the progressive California Institute of the Arts’ [CalArts] pioneering Feminist Art Program, and embodied in the collaborative installation Womanhouse by Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro and others.
The art emerging from this place and time is among the most exciting produced in America during the 20th century. Ground-breaking movements and artists emerged, building on and going beyond the characteristic patterns of art-making that were then dominant: the paintings of Sam Francis, for instance, that brought the visual language of abstract expressionism in conversation with that of the rapidly growing culture of psychedelia. There were also the radical assemblage works of Ed and Nancy Kienholz, whose diorama-like installations presented a dark vision of life on the margins. Ed Ruscha, Peter Saul and other West Coast artists created an idiosyncratic take on Pop art, while the Light and Space movement represented a specifically Southern Californian version of Minimalism. The Hollywood film industry, of course, loomed large over the Californian scene, and a range of experimental ‘underground’ filmmakers from Kenneth Anger to Chick Strand responded in satirical and deeply personal ways to this cultural dominance.
5 lectures, 28 April – 26 May 2020