Curated by Bill Ramage
Opening Reception: Saturday April 6th, 2-4pm
The gallery is open 9AM - 5PM Weekdays
On view through May 17th
A Gerotranscendental Reflection of a New Era
A new era emerged around 1950. The life world of Western Civilization began a startling transformation. It was a transformation that has left a lasting impact on how we think and live. I believe that by 1975, the weltanschauungof Western Civilization was once again reinvented.
If you were born between 1938 and 1949, you became of age between 1949 and 1970. This makes you a participant whether you resisted, were unaware, ignored, bore witness, contributed, or actively participated at the heated core of a culture redefining itself.
Many of us who are now 70+ were the unwittingly iconoclastic youth that challenged, dismantled, and inventively replaced what was a culture that had outlived its viability. The Modern Age, for all its good intentions, great thinkers, and stunning accomplishments, was a spent culture. The youth of the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies were “Counter Cultural” not because of their infamous psychedelic obsession with “Drugs, Sex and Rock & Roll,” but because they were the impassioned pioneers exploring the uncharted frontier of a new era that ran counter to the prevailing culture.
Even as a teenager in the Fifties I could tell something significant was afoot. Reflecting back, I now believe it was an all-out war. Consider: John Cage’s 1951 “Imaginary Landscape #4 for 12 radios,” Bill Haley’s 1954 “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” Chuck Berry’s 1958 “Johnny Be Good,” Allen Ginberg’s 1955 “Howl,” Jack Kerouac’s 1957 “On The Road,” Williams Burrough’s 1958 “Naked Lunch,” Rauschenberg’s 1951 “White Paintings” and his 1953 “Erased De Kooning,” and Jasper Johns’ 1955 “Flag.” All of these things were new, iconoclastic, revolutionary thoughts, sounds, and images. It was an assault on the cultural status quo. Even though I didn’t know what it was, or what it meant, I sensed things were askew. . . different. I had no idea a new era was emerging, or that I was part of it, but if you’ve ever heard in earnest; “All I am saying, is give peace a chance,” you were in it.
The years of 1963, the year Andy Warhol made the “Brillo Box” pieces, and 1964, the year the Beatlescame to NYC, were pivotal, as iconoclasm transitioned to invention, a time to change the lexicon, and rethink the whole shebang.
It was a gerotrancendent realization that the most significant thing we brought to the table of a transforming culture was the gift of empathy. In spite of all the insane trials and disastrous tribulations of those twenty-five years, our one true and lasting legacy are the many rewards of the new and inclusive lexicon of cultural empathy.