Since the 1960s, mainstream art focuses on race, gender, and sexual revolutions that have radicalized contemporary culture. Examples of such artists are Betty Tompkins, Thomas Lanigan, and Jack Early. They radicalized art in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, which also caused critiques to their career and lives, as they argued for contemporaries and new generation over cultural issues. The arts embrace the visual language, redefining beauty through objects and images to express self-identity, stereotyping, distorted imagery and oppressive histories. It included different styles of painting and sculptures from different countries, but which were interested in mass-media, mass-production, and mass-culture. As a result, images, sculptures and visual representations challenged the authority of artwork industrial productions. The reason behind the idea was that art should not be manifested in visual form alone, but also in physical form.
The 1960s was a period of tremendous social, political and artistic changes. For example, in 1964, the year after the assassination of the U.S president, the clamor of racial unrest rose in several American cities while the first bomb fell on North Vietnam ignited civil rights movements. As a result, artistic movements sought to reflect social happening. The bravura gestures of the 1950s abstract expressionism gave way to minimalist artistic such as Carl Andre, Ellsworth Kelly and Donald Judd who were exploring distilled forms, geometries, and colors. Additionally, group artists such as the Fluxus movement expressed social occurrences through visual arts, performance, films, music and graphics designs. Therefore, a democratic approach to art inspired society.
In the 1960s, young artists in the U.S and England made Popular Culture a theme in their works. They used images and objects such as household items, advisements from consumer products, fast food, celebrities, cartoons and mass media imagery from television, magazines, and newspapers in art. Additionally, they used forms of powered productions to express the originality of the art. As a result, Pop Art was a culture expressed in art. It was a visual art movement that gave optimism during the postwar 1950s and 1960s. It included different styles of painting and sculptures from different countries but which were interested in mass-media, mass-production, and mass-culture. Pop Art in America evolved quite differently from British culture. For example, American pop culture was a development against the abstract sculpture, which was the first American art movement. Pop Art aimed at reversing the trend by reintroducing the idea of “image”.
One way, the pop culture challenged mainstream art by fusing mass-production advertisements with fine art. It used simple graphics of consumer packaging and advertising to relay messages. Additionally, pop artists such as Andy Warhol took product labels and logos out of commercial context and displayed them as art. For example, their works employed popular as opposed to traditional culture. It embraced the kitsch associated with consumerism and mocked brand loyalty and promise of happiness.
At the same time, young artists in New York developed a self-conscious movement expressed through art. The movement evolved to include artistic media and visual art. Leading personalities of the movement include Carl Andre, Frank Stella, and Robert Morris who created objects characterized by blurred boundaries between painting and sculpture. Additionally, the objects used unitary, geometrical and industrial approaches. By the early 1960s, most mainstream artists shifted to the new movement, called Minimalism. For example, Frank Stella’s Black Painting adopted a new approach, which seemed neither painting nor sculpture. The paintings were thicker than traditional designs. They emphasized materiality and objectiveness, in contrast with the thin, window-like quality of contemporary canvases.
Minimal Art is an ideology in abstract painting and sculpture that offers literal presence. The result is a simplistic image that lacks expressive content. The principle in Minimal art is not the artist’s expression, but the medium and material used. As a result, Minimal Art does not refer to another idea to accept self. Minimalism is aimed at eradicating authorship by using simple geometric forms and industrial objects. As a result, it led to a new emphasis on the physical space in which artwork existed. In part, the developments were also influenced by Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s writing on phenomenology. Consequently, abstract painters such as Frank Stella and Barnett Newsman adopted the simplistic form of canvases. Using one line, solid color, geometric forms, and shapes canvas, these artists combined paints and canvas.
During the early 1960s and 1970s, different forms of Minimalism emerged. For example, the “light” and space movement led by Robert Irwin diverged from studio art creating a thin boundary between art and object. Artists were interested in how audiences perceive relationship parts of the work and of the whole. The nonhierarchical character of the grid-based composition challenged the authority of artwork while visual representations are reminiscent of a production line. Minimalists were conscious of space while the artwork emphasizes the architecture of the gallery as presented in walls, corners, and floor. Finally, the paintings are precise. For example, colors are solid and not mixed.
Conceptual art developed the principles of Minimalism. It aimed at exploring art to its basics. The significant element was the idea of the artwork and not the objects produced. For example, Duchamp argued that the idea behind the work matter more than a physical representation. As a result, it was not an artistic movement, but a philosophy. The philosophy is also a rebellion against commercial art. It took a myriad form, such as performance, happenings, ephemera, installations, body art, and earth art to produce works and writings divergent to traditional.
As significant works of conceptual art were the “readymade” developed by Dada artist Marcel Duchamp. In the 1950s after the idea of “readymade” was lost, Duchamp re-issued Fountain and another readymade in New York. Another artist who developed the idea was Joseph Kossuth who argued that art should question its purpose. As a result, it was necessary to abandon traditional media to pursue self-criticism. As a result, he believed that art should not be manifested in visual form alone, but also in a physical form. Mainstream artists argued that conceptual art focused on commercial gains unlike conventional art, which focused on massage. As a result, it would elicit a mixed reaction since the artwork was either marketable or not.
In conclusion, the 1960s were a period of tremendous political, social and artistic changes in the U.S. As a result, mainstream art during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s focused on race, gender, and sexual revolutions have radicalized contemporary culture. Art movements expressed social occurrences through visual arts, performance, music, films, and graphic designs. The approach inspired people since it took a democratic approach to art. One way the culture challenged mainstream art was by equating the mass-production advertisements with fine art. Additionally, they used a form of mechanical productions to express the originality of the art. For example, non-hierarchical and visual representations challenged the authority of artwork industrial productions. The reason behind the idea was that art should not be manifested in visual form alone, but also in a physical form.