From the Collection: 1960–1969

1968 Overview

1968 Overview 1968

DAVID PLATZKER: You're going to see, as you come into 1968 from 1967, a radical change. It's a moment of very substantial political upheaval: the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy; the height of the Vietnam War. So it's a real catharsis period of time. You can really understand why artists were deciding to dematerialize their art: because the world was dematerializing around them, as well.

YASMIL RAYMOND: As you turn the corner to 1968, you'll find one of the most beautiful works by Dan Flavin of this period, where he frames the corner of a gallery with four 8-foot-long fluorescent lamps. And here he's contrasting pinks and yellows to create a glow with the white of the lamps that is magical.

I think what is exciting for me in this gallery is that artists were trying to search for new ways of defining their language. So it's really technology, new materials, new forms of communication are really impacting how artists were thinking about their work and abandoning other forms that no longer seem to have been efficient to express themselves.

DAVID PLATZKER: 1968 was this high moment of the beginning of video. And it was seen almost as a means for new expression: that it was a possibility for extending themselves infinitely on video-tape and the magnetic medium was infinitely reproducible in a way that other mediums weren't.

YASMIL RAYMOND: Yes, in one area of the gallery, you'll find the work of Bruce Nauman: early videos where he's experimenting in the studio, trying to get his body to generate a new form of action that could be, on its own, a work of art.

DAVID PLATZKER: It's also a moment of high style—the real height of German design, industrial design, American design, and that's really permeating this moment.

YASMIL RAYMOND: Look at this cabinet, a floor-to-ceiling structure where we have combined in a loose grid dozens of objects that are not only utilitarian, domestic design of that time but also works of art that could be acquired by every man, every woman, to have at home.

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