LAURA HOPTMAN: We're at the beginning of something and also at the end of something. So on the one hand, we have work that harkens back to the immediate post-war era in the United States and, on the other hand, we have something entirely different that's percolating. And that difference, at least in the painting and sculpture world is the interest of artists in the commercial world, in commerce, i.e., in Pop art, because 1962 really is the year of the birth of Pop.
And artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Yayoi Kusama were participants. Now, there's enormous difference between Kusama's Accumulation No. 1, which is an easy chair bristled over with phalluses. And Roy Lichtenstein's Baked Potato: one of them using the idioms of the comic strip inserted into high art and the other one using the high-art rubric to make a very tough comment on the status of women in contemporary art at the time. That is a subtheme in some of the works in painting and sculpture—this growing consciousness of gender difference and gender tension.
LUKE BAKER: Architecturally speaking, at this point we're really dealing with the end of high modernism as we know it. Pop happens much later in architecture and design than it does in painting and sculpture. So figures like Mies van der Rohe, who are approaching the very end of their career, their last few significant projects, are still carrying the torch for this idea of this heroic modernism—very austere, luxury materials, rational. And we're starting to see new threads emerging among younger architects who are exploring more expressive materials and forms.
Louis Khan is beginning this tradition, that's carried forth by other figures in subsequent galleries, that are returning to ideas of expressivity in architecture: complicating forms; also influenced by new social and cultural developments like space travel, cybernetics, using these very pedestrian industrial materials like concrete to magnificent effect.