JUN 12–SEP 1, 2013
West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977
In the heady and hallucinogenic days of the 1960s and 1970s, a diverse range of artists and creative individuals based in the American West—from the Pacific coast to the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest—broke the barriers between art and lifestyle and embraced the new, hybrid sensibilities of the countercultural movement.
West of Center illuminates the unique works of these individuals through videos, photographs, drawings, ephemera, and other original and re-created objects and environments.
The countercultural movement has typically been associated with psychedelic art, but West of Center presents psychedelia as only one dimension of the larger, artistically oriented, socially based phenomenon. The wider integration of art practices, political action and collaborative life activities is foundational for so much contemporary art and culture.
The Single Wing Turquoise Bird
Expanded Cinema 1 (Installation view), 2011
Courtesy of Laura and David Merage Foundation Gallery and MCA Denver. Photo by Ron Pollard.
West of Center, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, brings together a range of projects by groups and individuals including the Ant Farm Collective, San Francisco’s extravagant theater groups the Cockettes and the Angels of Light, former Black Panther Emory Douglas, Drop City commune in southern Colorado, modern dancer Anna Halprin, light show producers Single Wing Turquoise Bird, and the Womyn’s Lands of Southern Oregon.
West of Center is co-curated by Elissa Auther, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado, and Adam Lerner, Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
This exhibition is supported, in part, with funds provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and the National Endowment for the Arts.