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ReFocus: Art of the 1970s

Richard Estes, Untitled (Car Reflection), 1967, oil on board. © Richard Estes, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York.

Richard Estes, Untitled (Car Reflection), 1967, oil on board. © Richard Estes, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York.

Museum of Contemporary Art | Jacksonville

By Jenifer Mangione-Vogt

As part of its ReFocus series, MOCA is examining the “Me Decade” in art that gave rise to photorealism, earthworks and conceptual art and expanded the boundaries of abstract painting, video, performance and installation art. The museum should be applauded for this series, which draws from the museum’s permanent collection to educate and inform visitors about the decades leading up to and currently influencing the contemporary and emergent art of our times.

In the 1970s, Americans were still reeling from the political and social upheavals of the 1960s and the artistic explosions that accompanied them. It had been an unprecedented decade of freedom and taboo-breaking. In the wake of the artistic innovations of that decade, there seemed little left that artists had not tried or audiences had not seen. Exhausted by the revolutionary changes and disillusioned by the implosion of their utopian ideals, artists rejected statements as irrelevant and instead concentrated on personal artistic goals.

The exhibit features works by some of the decade’s leading artists, such as Richard Estes, Lawrence Weiner, Richard “Dickie” Landry and Alfred Jensen, as well as photographs of works by environmental sculptors Robert Smithson and Christo. Through August 26.

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