By Judith Baughman, Richard Layman, Vincent Tompkins, Victor Bondi
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Additional resources for American Decades: 1960-1969 (American Decades)
In minimalism personality meant nothing, and the art referred to nothing; the sculpture or painting was intended to draw attention to its materials and form. Modern Dance. This emphasis on form over content had been a central tenet of modern-dance choreographers such as Merce Cunningham for decades, but those critics and audiences who took modern dance seriously tended to prefer the psychological dramas of artists such as Martha Graham over the innovations of younger choreographers. By the 1960s, however, not only was modern dance sufficiently developed to embrace different approaches, but audiences and critics embraced them as well — from the mythic dances of Graham to the plotless dances of Cunningham to the equally abstract works of Alwin Nikolais, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and others.
Catering to youth was not only a preoccupation of popular music and an indirect concern of some writers; it was also the driving force of Hollywood during the 1960s. Concerned that television would usurp its audiences and thereby its profits, the film industry strove to present movies that did things television could not. In part this meant big-budget epics, but more importantly it meant more sex and violence. The phenomenal success of the James Bond films during the 1960s is a case in point. Additionally, the Bond films subtly assuaged both British and American anxieties about the state of their declining empires.
Abstract expressionism did not grind to a halt during the 1960s, but its position as the American painting style was no longer secure. A hallmark of American art during the 1960s is its variety, with representational and various abstract styles existing almost comfortably together. Some abstract painters turned to geometric forms devoid of emotional content, while other painters returned to figurative works. In 1963, for example, the Jewish Museum in New York featured an exhibit called "Towards a New Abstraction," in which the "hard-edge" works of geometric abstract painters such as Ellsworth Kelly were displayed, while several exhibits of the work of Wyeth, the most respected representational painter in America at the time, drew large crowds.
American Decades: 1960-1969 (American Decades) by Judith Baughman, Richard Layman, Vincent Tompkins, Victor Bondi