Whatever your style, you won’t be a square on Tuesday, April 23, at a special reception for the newest University of North Dakota Art Collections at the Empire show: Selected Works from 1960-1982. The community is encouraged, but not required, to come decked out head to toe in their best 1960s and 1970s outfits. They’ll be able turn on and tune in to this special show, featuring art and artists who helped frame the counterculture whirlwind that dominated much of the period.
The reception, including refreshments and art tours, is set for 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in the UND Art Collections Gallery at the Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave., downtown Grand Forks. Normal hours of operation for the UND gallery are Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gallery is free and open to the public.
The show, which will run through May 18, features 22 works of art by internationally acclaimed artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Mortherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, just to name a few.
Two artists with local connections – Eunice Renee Kuhn nee Lizakowski and Peter Lockrem – also have works included in the show, keeping with the spirit and mission of the Empire Arts Center to acknowledge the regional art community.
The UND Art Collections Gallery at the Empire Arts Center was established on Aug. 29, 2012, extending UND’s rich collection of art beyond the campus borders. It was one of the first tangible examples of the University's commitment to expand its presence into the community – a primary tenet of the Exceptional UND initiative.
The exhibition covers a wide range of directions including Abstract Expressionism, Neo Dada, Pop Art, Psychedelic Art, Op Art, Minimalism, Pattern and Decoration, Neo Expressionism, and art addressing social and political issues, such as Civil Rights, feminism and war.
The 1960s and 1970s were intriguing decades. Pop culture evolved from the early 60’s of Chubby Checker and the “Twist” to the Beatles invasion, hippies, flower children and disco kings and queens.
It was also the era of the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, social unrest, political assassinations, the Feminist Movement and Watergate.
The art produced during this period led to challenges of the status quo in various ways. It was the curator’s intent to relate artwork selected for the show to the spirit of the times as much as possible.
While focused on the 60’s and 70’s, two pieces of art date from the early 1980s.
Selecting 1982 as the “cut-off” point for the show resulted from what the curator perceived as a cultural shift that year, which launched the world toward the “Digital Age.” Commodore 64 computers were first sold to mass buyers in 1982 and Time magazine recognized the computer as its “Machine of the Year.”
In addition, the year 1982 was, in some ways, pivotal in regard to its impact on unresolved social and political issues of the 1960s and 1970s. The Feminist Movement had a setback when the Equal Rights Amendment failed to be ratified and died, and Americans began to heal their divisions as the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial was completed in Washington, D.C.