The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent (Trade Version)

Thomas Crow, Author
Thomas Crow, Author Prentice Hall $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8109-2731-5
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-13-183317-3
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-0-300-10683-1
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In addition to presenting an international array of artists against the background of world events, Crow's survey shows the role critics, curators, cliques and dealers play in bringing those individuals and movements to public prominence. Accordingly, gallery owner Leo Castelli is as big a player as any one of his famous artists. While this seems obvious enough, Crow (Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France) is one of the rare writers who concisely portrays this expanded scene of production. The ever-popular Pop is only a small, relatively predictable aspect of this roiling, radical era that includes Situationalism, Conceptualism, Feminism, Fluxus, Environmentalism, Minimalism and Op as well as performance, dance and film. Crow, who teaches art history at the University of Sussex, breaks down the New York-centricity that characterizes established readings of the period. So, rather than force Virginian Cy Twombly's scribbled graffiti-like paintings to fit awkwardly into an American context, he fits them rather more neatly into a European scene and the aberrant gestures of German Sigmar Polke's ball-point pen pictures. Not everything is equally thoughtful, as some lines of critique are too preoccupied with politics and overstate the importance of such conspicuous scene-makers as Robert Morris. Still, the text and 120 illustrations (81 in color) make this invaluable for both students of art and any reader interested in this most significantly subversive decade in contemporary culture. (June)
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