The 1970s featured the announcement of the break-up of the Beatles, the Kent State shooting, the meltdown of Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear generating station and the $1.5 billion bailout of Chrysler Corporation.
These tumultuous times also witnessed the maturity of the second wave of the women's movement, the student movement and the black-nationalist movement, which together irrevocably changed the fabric of the country. Where would modern art go? The 1970s was a decade of aesthetic open-endedness and exploration. Artists looked in many directions for styles and images relevant to this era of social change.
An University of Virginia Art Museum
exhibition, Excavating New Ground: American Art in the 1970s, celebrates the art of 1970s with 14 representative works drawn from the museums permanent collection. Produced by artists who resided primarily on the East Coast, these works exemplify the diversity of art practice during the decade. They embrace both figurative and abstract tendencies during the decade.
The exhibit also features video clips from the controversial television sitcom All in the Family, which aired 1971 through 1978, as reflections of the socio-political environment.
The exhibition, which opened Feb. 11 and runs through Aug. 14, was curated by Andrea Douglas, guest curator. Douglas recently stepped down as museum curator to direct the exhibitions and programming for the soon-to-open Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center in Charlottesville.
Many of the artists in the exhibition held radical political views, however their images do not contain overt references to these events," she said. The clips from All in the Family establish the subtext for the subject matter and techniques contained in these works.
The exhibition includes work by Power Boothe, Jack Beal and John de Andrea, among other artists.
Douglas will give a Saturday special tour of the exhibition on Feb. 26, from 2 to 3 p.m. A Family Art JAM, Playing with Paint: Exploring Abstract Painting, will be held Feb. 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.