The Turning Point:
Art and Politics in Nineteen Sixty-eight
20th Anniversary

November 10, 1988-January 14, 1989

 

Robert Rauchenberg
Signs, 1970
silkscreen, 43" x 34," ed. 250
courtesy Robert Rauchenberg and Castelli Graphics, New York

 

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



1968 was an extraordinary year both in political history and in the history of art. In a decade of radical change, '68 perhaps more than any other year, was one of upheaval, transformation, the breaking of boundaries. Politically, a series of violent events shook the nation: the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy; the bloody demonstrations at the Democratic Convention in Chicago; student riots and the takeover of the campus at Columbia. 1968 was a turning point. In the course of the year, the national mood shifted from relative confidence and optimism to dismay at the intractability of social problems and the war, at the violence of both the right and the left, and at the manifest rents in the social fabric.

The art world shared the experience of the country as a whole. In the course of the year, numerous artists became political activists, not only on the national level, but within the art world itself. In formal terms, too, much of the art first made or shown in 1968 seems to reveal a transformation as profound as that in the political climate. Gallery exhibitions and theoretical writings defined radical new aesthetic initiatives. Conceptual art challenged the premises of modernism, attempting a far-reaching redefinition of the nature of art. The appearance of new media, new modes of organization, and a generation of young, iconoclastic artists suggested the emergence of a new sensibility.

According to Craig Owens, one of the most cogent theoreticians of postmodernism, "Appropriation, site-specificity, impermanence, accumulation, discursivity, hybridization . . . characterized much of the art of the present and distinguished it from its predecessors" (October, Spring 1980). These strategies also characterized much of the new art of 1968. The disappearance of distinction between painting and sculpture; the use of unconventional industrial and natural materials; the use of real objects or photographic images in place of illusionistic representation; combinations of word and image; site-specific art; emphasis on the artist's process and the relationship of the observer to the work in real space; the use of appropriated images and period style-al I these characteristics of the art of 1968 are now current practice in 1988.

We are most grateful to the artists, galleries, museums and collectors who loaned works which have enabled us to recapture the spirit of the 1968 art scene. Benny Andrews, Mel Bochner, Rafael Ferrer, Robert Morris and Lawrence Weiner were particularly generous in sharing their recollections. Corinne Robins, Robert Rosenblum, and Irving Sandler also provided invaluable advice. Hans Haacke, Michael Heizer, and Dennis Oppenheim generously supplied us with documentation of seminal site-specific works, and Richard Artschwager with information needed to reconstruct some of his early objects. We wish to thank Professor Irwin Unger of New York University for his perceptive historical analysis of the political events in 1968, which forms an important part of this catalogue.

This exhibition could not have been organized without the assistance of Susan Hoeltzel, Molly Sullivan and Sally Webster of the Lehman College Art Gallery, Roger Welch, whose selection of videotapes contributed greatly to the project, and above all, our splendid Intern, Virginia Cupiola, whose persistent research and exceptional administrative abilities were absolutely essential to the organization of the show.

Nor would the project have been possible without the support of The Progressive Companies, of Cleveland, Ohio, The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Ohio Arts Council, as well as of the Herbert and Edith Lehman Foundation, and Friends of the Lehman College Art Gallery.
We would also like to thank Michael Sundell and especially Anselm Talalay for their vital contributions to the creation of this catalogue.

The exhibition "The Turning Point: Art and Politics in 1968" celebrates the founding, twenty years ago, of the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art by the two of us with the encouragement and support of Agnes Gund. It likewise marks the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of Lehman College of The City of New York. In fact it was the coincidence of these two anniversaries that planted the original seed for the project. The exhibition opens in Cleveland on September 9 1988 and moves to the Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, New York, on November 10th. The Cleveland showing coincides with the Center's Fall Lecture Series which will address this year similar issues as the exhibition. The distinguished speakers are Seymour Hersh, Adrian Piper, Robert Rosenblum, and Leo Castelli.




Nina Castelli Sundell, Director, Lehman College Art Gallery


Marjorie Talalay, Director, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art

 

Works in the Exhibition

JOSEF ALBERS.
S.P.-III
(from Homage to the Square), 1967
silkscreen on paper, 241/4" x 241/4,' ed. 125, Sillman and Ives.
Collection of Judith and Richard Simon, Cleveland.


BENNY ANDREWS
.
War Baby,
1968
oil and collage on canvas, 35" x 25."
Courtesy of the artist.


RICHARD ANUSZKIEWICZ. Zonal (from The Metropolitan Scene), 1968
silkscreen on white enameled aluminum, 36" x 36" ed. 50
printed by Fine Creations, Inc. for Tanglewood Press.
Collection of Mrs. John Dempsey, Cleveland.


RICHARD ARTSCHWAGER
.
Blips, 1968 -1988
media and dimensions variable.
Courtesy of the artist.


JOHN BALDESSARI.
A
1968 Painting, 1968
photo emulsion, enamel paint on canvas, 45" x 59"
Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York.


MEL BOCHNER.
Surface Distension, 1967-68
photographic paper mounted on board, 72" x 70"
Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York.


CHRISTO
.
Wrapped Kunsthalle, Berne, 1968
collage, photostat, fabric, twine, pencil crayon, technical data, photo documentation, 28" x 22"
Collection of Laurie Mallet, New York.


ALLAN D'ARCANGELO
.
Landscape
II (from 11 Pop Artists II), 1968
silkscreen, 24" x 18"
Courtesy of Rosa Esman Gallery, New York.


JIM DINE.
Bathrobe Etching
(from N.Y. International,) 1964
Original Editions., 22" x 17," ed. 200.
Collection of Betty Hosmer Mawardi and Osman Mawardi, Cleveland.


OYVIND FAHLSTROM.
Study for Firing Squad,
1968
tempera and ink on paper, 15" x 18"
Courtesy Sidney Janis Gallery, New York.


SAM GILLIAM.
April 4, 1968,
1968
acrylic on canvas, 114" x 21"
Collection of Studio Museum in Harlem, Gift of Nina Felshin.


HANS HAACKE.
Live Airborne System,
1965-68
sea gulls, bread crumbs, ocean at Coney Island; photo documentation mounted on Foam-core.
Courtesy of the artist.


MICHAEL HEIZER.
Isolated Mass/Circumflex,
1968 (deteriorated);
#9 of Nine Nevada Depressions; 6-ton displacement in playa surface, 120' x 12' x 1 ' Vya, Nevada.
Photo documentation mounted on Foam-core.
Courtesy M. Knoedler & Co., New York.


EVA HESSE.
Accession 11, 1968
galvanized metal, steel, rubber tubing, construction, 30 3/4" x 30
3/4" x 30 3/4"
Collection of Detroit Institute of Arts [Founders' Society Purchase,
Friends of Art Foundation, Miscellaneous Gifts Fund].


JASPER JOHNS.
Flag,
1962 - 68
color lithograph, 34" x 25,' ed. 43 ULAE.
Collection of Marjorie and Anselm Talalay, Cleveland.

Figure 7 (from Colored Numerals: Figures 0 to 9), 1968
color lithograph, 38" x 31 " ed. 40, Gemini G.E.L.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.

The Critic Sees (from 10 From Castelli), 1967
embossed lithograph, 191/2a x 20 1/2,' ed. 200.
Private collection, Bronx, NY

ELLSWORTH KELLY.
Blue
and Green Over Orange, 1964-65
lithograph 2315/16" x 351/4" ed. 75, Maeght Editeur.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.


EDWARD KIENHOLZ.
Portable War
Memorial 1968, 1970
silkscreen on galvanized metal with hand additions, 22 1/16" x 33 1/4"
Collection of Jürgen Harten and Doreet GeVitt, Düsseldorf.


JOSEPH KOSUTH.
Titled (Art As Idea As Idea),
1968
photostat, 48" x 48"
Courtesy Leo Castelli Gallery.


NICHOLAS KRUSHENICK.
Turn Back Orange (from The Metropolitan Scene), 1968
serigraph on aluminum, 36" x 36" ed. 50
printed by Maurel Studios for Tanglewood Press.
Collection of Mrs. John Dempsey, Cleveland.


BARRY LE VA. 1, 2, 3,—(Eliminating STRIPS), 1968
gray or maroon or black felt, variable dimensions .c. 8' x 8'
Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York.


LES LEVINE.
The Dealer,
1968
video
Courtesy of the artist.


SOL LeWITT.
Drawing 11
18 A & B (First Wall I Drawing), 1968
black pencil, two pieces each 48" x 48"
The Saatchi Collection, London.


ROY LICHTENSTEIN.
Melody Haunts My Reverie (from 11 Pop Artists II), 1965
silkscreen, 30" x 24" ed. 200, Original Editions.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.

Still Life (from The Metropolitan Scene), 1968
silkscreen on aluminum, ed. 50, 36" x 36"
printed by Fine Creations Inc. for Tanglewood Press, New York.
Collection Hope Hunger ford, Cleveland.

Moonscape, 1965
silkscreen on Rowlux, 24" x 24,' ed. 200, Original Editions.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.


ROBERT MORRIS.
Untitled,
1967
felt (gray), 144" x 72" x 1/2"
Collection of Ellen H. Johnson, Oberlin, Ohio.

      BRUCE NAUMAN.
My Name as Though it Were Written on the Surface of the Moon,
1968
neon tubing, 11" x 201" x 2"
Courtesy Sonnabend Gal Gallery, New York.


_____________.
Floor Positions, 1968
video
Video Data Bank.


LOUISE NEVELSON.
In Memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

painted wood, 104" x 781/2" x 12"
Collection of Studio Museum in Harlem, gift of the artist.


CLAES OLDENBURG
.
Fireplug, 1968
plaster and acrylic, multiple object, ed. 100, 8" x 8" x 6"
Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York.


Teabag (from Four on Plexiglas), 1965
vacuum-formed Plexiglas, cardboard, and cloth, ed. 125, 261/2" x 39" x 2", Multiples, Inc.
Collection Nina and Michael Sundell, New York.


P.O.P. (from Notes), 1968
lithograph, 2011/16" x 15 3/4" ed. 100, Gemini G.E.L.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics, New York.


_____________.
Body Building (from Notes), 1968
lithograph, 2011/16" x 15 3/4" ed. 100, Gemini G.E.L.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.


DENNIS OPPENHEIM.
Annual Rings, on St. John River near Fort Kent, Me.
, 1968
150' x 200' photo documentation mounted on Foam-core.
Courtesy of the artist.


NAM JUNE PAIK
.
From Electronic Opera #1 (The Medium is the Medium), 1968
video
Electronic Arts Intermix.


HOWARDENA PINDELL.
Homage to Martin Luther King, Jr.
, 1968
ink, watercolor, collage, craypas on grass paper, 18" x 24"
Collection of the artist.


ADRIAN PIPER.
Concrete Space_Time_Infinity,
8" Square with 8" Square Elaborations,
1968
two panels:
(1) 11" x 81/2" photocopied page with typed text, in the shape
of an 8" square, describing the infinite variations on the measuredured proportions of the square and bounded by its edges;
(2) 22" x 8 1/2" ink drawings on two pieces of graph paper taped together, numerically elaborating the infinite variations
of the measured proportions of the square and bounded by the horizontal edge of the graph paper.


ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG
.
Landmark,
1968
lithograph, 42" x 30" ed 40, ULAE.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.


Guardian, 1969,
lithograph, 42" x 34" ed. 40, ULAE.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.


Signs, 1970, silk
screen, 43" x 34" ed. 250, Castelli Graphics.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.



FAITH RINGGOLD.
Flag for the Moon: Die Nigger
1967-69
oil on canvas, 36" x 50"
Courtesy Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, New York.


LARRY RIVERS.
Last Civil War Veteran,
1968
lithograph on raised board, 29" x 19 3/4"
Collection of the artist.


JAMES ROSENQUIST.
Mayor
Daley, 1968
oil on aluminum panel and mylar, 24" x 24"
Collection of the artist.


ALAN SARET.
Red and Blue Spiral,
1967
painted galvanized steel wire, 48" x 42" x 64"
Collection of the artist.


GEORGE SEGAL.
Girl in a Chair (from The Metropolitan Scene), 1968
silkscreen on aluminum enameled white, 36" x 36,' ed. 50
printed by Maurel Studios for Tanglewood Press, New York.
Collection of Hope Hungerford, Cleveland.


RICHARD SERRA.
30 Feet of lead, rolled,
1968
lead, 3" x 24" x 10"
Collection of Holly Solomon, New York.


ROBERT SMITHSON
.
Corner Piece with Gravel,
1970
mirrors and gravel, 48" x 48" x 48"
Estate of Robert Smithson.
Courtesy John Weber Gallery, New York.


KEITH SONNIER.
Hotel Delcourt,
1968
neon, dacron auto body filler and transformer, 108" x 32" x 10"
Courtesy Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.


NANCY SPERO
.
Gunship/Eagle/Pilot/Victims,
1968
painted collage on paper, 25" x 39"
Courtesy Josh Baer Gallery, New York.


D.O.W.M.U.R.D.E.R.E. R., 1968
gouache and ink on paper, 36" x 24"
Courtesy Josh Baer Gallery, New York.


FRANK STELLA.
Quathlamba II,
1968
4 color lithograph, 16" x 29," ed. 100, Printed by James Webb, Gemini G.E.L.
Collection Judith and Richard Simon, Cleveland.


_______________.
Irving Blum Memorial (from Star of Persia), 1967
26" x 31 " ed. 16, Gemini G.E.L.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics


ANDY WARHOL. Onion (from Campbell's Soup Can 1),1968
silkscreen, 35" x 25" ed. 250, Factory Additions.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics, New York.


________________.
Jackie III (from 11 Pop Artists III), 1966
screenprint, 30" x 40" ed. 200, Original Editions.
Courtesy Castelli Graphics.


LAWRENCE WEINER
.
Untitled
(Windham College Piece), 1967 - 68
drawing with collage and photo, 11" x 14"
Collection of Joseph Kosuth. New York.


TOM WESSELMANN.
Great American Nude (from Seven Objects in a Box), 1965
vacuum formed plastic, 7 1/2" x 7" x 1 1/3,' multiple.
Collection Rosa Esman and Aaron Esman M.D., New York.