Nassau County Museum of Art
Roslyn Harbor, NY
Contemporary American Masters: The 1960s
June 13 until September 12, 1999
The dynamic decade of the 1960s is being welcomed back to the Nassau County Museum of Art. The exhibition - "Contemporary American Masters: The 1960s" - encompasses art, fashion, space memorabilia and current events in a provocative display which is being sponsored by Newsday and Reckson Associates Realty Corp.
"This exhibition will comprise a visual tribute to an exhilarating era," comments Constance Schwartz, Director of the Nassau County Museum of Art. "By forefronting stylistic issues in American art concurrent to the events of the day, we will demonstrate how a media explosion in the '60s intersected the historic, social and aesthetic upheaval of America."
"From Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art, from high couture to high-tech space gear, from gripping accounts of the Vietnam War to the first satellite launch .... these are among the many powerful elements which will transform our galleries into a time capsule."
(left: Andy Warhol, Marilyn, 1962, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 14 3/4 x 11 inches, Private Collection, © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/ARS, New York, Photo: Jim Strong)
Highlighting the exhibition are examples of Pop Art, the leading movement of the period. Pop derived its name and inspiration from the pervasive consumerism and popular culture that flourished in the '60s. Works in the exhibition include Andy Warhol's catchy images of brand-name goods, such as Brillo and Del Monte peach halves boxes; iconic portraits of Jackie and Marilyn, or such stirring subjects as Five Deaths; Flash - November 22, 1963 and Little Electric Chair. Warhol's Self Portrait and Young Rauschenberg, demonstrate how artists themselves became celebrities, by reacting to the highs and lows of the decade.
Roy Lichtenstein, who took pictorial inspiration from comic strips, is represented by such paintings as Head, Yellow and Black, in addition to prints and sculpture. Other leading proponents of Pop: Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselmann, are shown as well. (right: Robert Indiana, LOVE, 1966-96, polychrome aluminum, blue/red, AP 1/4, 36 x 36 x 18 inches (110 Ibs), Private Collection, Courtesy Simon Salama-Caro)
The exhibition hearkens back to the "prophets" of Pop: Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. It also examines how Abstract Expressionist, Minimalist and Color Field artists continued to flourish during the '60s. The evolution of their pluralistic styles is displayed sequentially and is linked to the political, social and aesthetic "happenings" of the decade. From Willem de Kooning's rigorously painted Woman to Andrew Wyeth's serene watercolor, Master Bedroom, this broad range of works includes those by Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Lee Krasner, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Kenneth Noland, Larry Rivers and Frank Stella, among others.
The "Jackie" Collection
A unique aspect of the exhibition is the display of fashions emblematic of the glamorous Kennedy years. Oleg Cassini, the famous designer and Honorary Chairman of the Museum's 1999 Ball, has loaned several gowns which reflect the high couture worn by Jacqueline Kennedy during her years in the White House. These beautiful dresses are joined by the creations of Dior and Courreges.
Newsday, one of the sponsors of the exhibition, further brings to life the political events, fashion, technology, environmental and social concerns of the 1960s through a fantastic display of newspaper documentation from their archives.
The exhibition "Contemporary American Masters: The 1960s" is on view at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Tuesdays through Sundays from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Complimentary decent tours are given daily (except Sunday) at 2 p.m.
Read more about the Nassau County Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine.
For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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