Heckscher Museum: ‘From Frankenthaler to Warhol…’ Nov 18 / March 11


Roy Lichtenstein, This Must Be the Place, 1965. Collection of Dr. Harvey Manes. ©Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

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From Frankenthaler to Warhol: Art of the ‘60s and ‘70s

 

November 18 / March 11

Andy Warhol’s soup can and Roy Lichtenstein’s comic-inspired images are among the works of art featured in The Heckscher Museum of Art’s exhibition From Frankenthaler to Warhol: Art of the 60s and 70s, on view from November 18, 2017, through March 11, 2018.

The icons are here – Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Romare Bearden, May Stevens, Andy Warhol, and many more. The exhibition delves into two trends that defined the art of the times and stretched the definition of fine art: abstract works that explore line, shape and color; and representational art on subjects from popular culture and everyday urban and suburban environments. Color Field, Minimalist, Pop, and Photorealist works speak to the myriad styles that characterized the art world during the dynamic decades of the 60s and 70s.

“This generation of artists solidified America’s dominance of the international art world,” notes Lisa Chalif, Curator, The Heckscher Museum of Art. “They stretched the definition of fine art by using images from consumer culture and experimenting with processes such as silkscreen, previously used in commercial applications.” During this time, more women and African-American artists entered the mainstream art world as well, bringing fresh perspectives to modern subjects.

In addition to artwork from the Museum’s Permanent Collection, From Frankenthaler to Warhol includes loans from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Universal Limited Art Editions, and Collector Dr. Harvey Manes.

Fittingly, classic ‘60s and ‘70s music will be the backdrop sound for this exhibition. The cultural influences that informed the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s – and consequently the art of those decades – create a vibrant soundtrack for viewing From Frankenthaler to Warhol.

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The 1960s and ‘70s were decades of turbulent social protest and political change in America. Civil Rights activists, feminists, and a burgeoning gay rights crusade challenged established convictions. The assassinations of beloved leaders John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King shocked the nation, as did the shooting of four students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University. Across the country youth rebelled, fostering a counterculture movement symbolized by a call for peace and love. Rock ‘n roll music transformed society, and economic prosperity expanded the middle-class, fueling a growing consumer culture. The Watergate investigation uncovered abuse of power at the highest levels of government. A nuclear accident at Three Mile Island and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring galvanized the environmental movement, while dependence on foreign oil shifted the balance of international power. The Cold War and nuclear arms race strained relations between the Soviet Union and the U.S. even as both countries pursued a space race that landed a man on the moon. The world’s first heart transplant occurred, the first test-tube baby was conceived, and the digital era was born.    

During this period, the visual arts became widely popular. Blockbuster museum shows shattered attendance records, and artists became celebrated culture heroes. Many pushed the boundaries between high and low art, adapting commercial processes and branding concepts used in advertising.

Distinctions between traditional mediums like painting and sculpture were blurred, and new art forms – assemblage, happenings, performance art, video art, installations, and land art – broke artistic barriers altogether, questioning the very nature of art. In response to the intensely personal art of mid-century Abstract Expressionism, many artists of the ‘60s and ‘70s avoided emotional expression. While some African-American and women artists focused on Civil Rights and feminist issues, artists mostly retreated from the tumult around them. Instead, they created diverse styles that comprised two distinct trends: a neutral investigation of formal elements and a return to representation of the visible world. In their exploration of process and the qualities of line, shape, and color, artists created new abstract vocabularies often characterized by hard-edge structures, a reductive approach, and use of repetition. Others rejected abstraction altogether, turning to subjects from popular culture and the daily life of urban and suburban environments depicted in an objective, deadpan manner. A proliferation of styles – Color Field, Minimalism, Pop art, Op art, Photorealism, and others – reflected the pluralism of the times. From Frankenthaler to Warhol: Art of the ‘60s and ‘70s reveals the vibrant creativity of this exuberant period.

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Museum Hours

Wednesday – Friday | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm *

Saturday and Sunday | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm *

Monday and Tuesday | Closed

*Huntington Township Residents admitted FREE Wednesdays after 2:00 pm and Saturdays before 1:00 pm. Proof of residency required.

Free Admission for Active Military Personnel, Veterans, and Family

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Sponsored by the Rapaport Shallat Foundation, and Frank Lourenso & Gary Stevens – Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

The Heckscher Museum of Art was founded in 1920 by philanthropist August Heckscher, and is in on the National and New York State Register of Historic Places. Located in scenic Heckscher Park in Huntington, New York, its exhibitions and related programs provide inspiring and transformative experiences to encourage a broader understanding of the past and present and to enrich life-long learning. The Museum’s collection comprises more than 2,500 works from the 16th to the 21st century, including European and American painting, sculpture, works on paper, and photography. For information about The Heckscher Museum of Art, visit Heckscher.org.

www.heckscher.org 

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