Far Out: Art from the 1960s explores art from a decade that introduced such movements as Pop, Op, Minimalism, Kinetic, Fluxus, and Conceptual Art, while weaving in the social and historical narrative of that time. The exhibition includes works by Calvin Burnett, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Miriam Schapiro, Victor Vasarely, and the Chicago Imagists. Presenting works pulled from MMoCA's permanent collection, Far Out will be on view in the museum’s main galleries and will feature a 1960s living room furnished by Rewind Decor of Madison. The exhibition is part of the larger celebration of the Sixties organized by The Madison Reunion taking place in June 2018.
The Sixties was a decade of radical experimentation that witnessed an incredible cultural and artistic revolution. The consumer-fueled optimism of the beginning of the decade was quickly dissolved by the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, world-wide student protests, and nightmarish assassinations—all broadcast into homes through the dominant medium of the time: television. A counterculture soon formed that rejected the conservative norms imposed by the previous generation and embraced inclusivity.
While the social and political turmoil of the decade prompted artists to create politicized works of art, artists were also in the process of rejecting their own art historical precedents and developing a counterculture of their very own. Seeking to reject the “artist as hero” mentality and the emotive and gestural brushstrokes that dominated Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, artists began to look at popular culture and play with more formal elements in art. Artists experimented with optics, reincorporated the modernist grid, and downgraded the role of the artist’s hand in the creation of an art object—thereby rejecting the autobiographical and spiritual aspects imbued into the history of art. Instead, artists sought to incorporate the physical world around them bringing life into art and art into life.