The 70s

The 70s


Bell bottoms and lava lamps and the "me" generation. A worldwide oil and energy crisis ushers in an age of inflation, environmentalism and a prolonged period of industrial restructuring in the west.

The 1970s saw a rise in critical and ideological movements as a result of the Vietnam War. It was widely held that art should engage the mind of the beholder, not simply his or her eye or emotions. Reflecting rising environmental concerns, a Land Art movement started, mainly by British and American artists trying to escape the art establishment and the limitation of galleries and auction houses. They created immense sculptures that were on the same scale as the landscape itself - or exhibited written or photographic accounts of trips they made. Key exponents were Walter De Maria, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson and Richard Long.

It was also the decade of Performance Art, or "live" presentations by visual artists, composers, musicians, poets and filmmakers. Key exponents were Gilbert and George, Bruce Nauman, Marina Abramovic and Hermann Nitsch.

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