de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history


Eye on the Sixties: Vision, Body, and Soul - Selections from the Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

February 2-March 20, 2008 and March 29-June 15, 2008

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The 1960s represent an important period of social, historical, and cultural transformation in the United States. Artistically, the decade signaled many dramatic changes as well, as artists searched for new modes of expression in the post-Abstract Expressionist era. This exhibition will celebrate the artistic legacy of this decade in all of its dynamic diversity. This exhibition is curated by Santa Clara University Associate Professor Andrea Pappas and coordinated by de Saisset Museum Assistant Director for Exhibitions, Education, and Community Outreach Karen Kienzle.

Due to the aesthetic vibrancy of the period, it is not surprising that the 1960s has emerged as an increasingly popular topic for contemporary scholars in art history. While most recent scholarship has focused on 1960s Pop, this exhibition will expand the scope of inquiry to include neglected movements of the period such as post-painterly abstraction, and new approaches to figuration. Uniquely, the exhibition will also include a contextual section focused on California artists working during the 1960s. Throughout the exhibition, a significant emphasis will be placed on the pluralism and diversity of the period.

Because this exhibition is focused around a decade, it will invite numerous cross-disciplinary approaches to interpretation. Text panels will provide background into social and historical developments in the period (the counterculture, the use of new materials, the role of California in artistic production during the period) and provide further framework for interpreting the artworks in the exhibition.

Culled from the extraordinary collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, Eye on the Sixties will include painting, sculpture, drawings and prints, by artists such as: Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Robert Arneson, Bruce Beasley, Billy Al Bengston, Fletcher Benton, Wallace Berman, Lee Bontecou, Bruce Conner, Ronald Davis, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Philip Guston, Jess, Bruce Nauman, Barnett Newman, Claes Oldenburg, Nathan Oliveira, David Park, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Sam Richardson, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella, Wayne Thiebaud, H.C. Westermann, and William T. Wiley.

Santa Clara University students enrolled in the art history course Exhibiting the 1960s have played an important role in this exhibition, contributing their own writing to labels in the galleries and helping to organize Guide by Cell content and lesson plans for the Museum’s student Explore with Me docent program. Participating students: Ashley Batz, Lauren Beadoin, Erin De Martini, Samantha Devine, Tasia Endo, Courtney Haney, Aftan Hernandez, Carrie Kirkpatrick, Marisa Nakasone, Meg Russell, Hermione Sharp, Elizabeth Shaw, Augusta Shifflett, Brittan Storey, Michelle Tokars.

A paperbound color catalogue accompanies the exhibition. The publication includes essays by SCU Associate Professor Andrea Pappas, SCU Religious Studies Professor Paul Crowley, and the de Saisset Museum’s Karen Kienzle. The catalogue will be for sale at the Museum.

Images, Left to Right: Ed Ruscha, Juice, 1967, gunpowder on paper, 14.375 x 22.875 in., Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, © Ed Ruscha. Claes Oldenburg, Ice Bag–Scale B, 1971, programmed kinetic sculpture, yellow nylon, fiberglass, and mechanical movement, 40 x 48 diameter in., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation, © Claes Oldenburg.