The art world was hardly unaffected by what was going on around it. Open rebellion seemed to be the mood in many quarters. Some artists had stopped making art altogether asthey became more and more enthralled by art theory. A few artists turned to newly available digital and video technologies as a way of breaking away from traditional media, while many others chose tomake artworks that could be reproduced as cheaply as possible, so that art would no longer be a commodity for the privileged few.
In painting, the allure of Abstract-Expressionism was still felt, asartists continued to explore color and shape, enjoying the manipulation of media for its own sake.
In sculpture and mixed media, the Happenings and installations of the sixties had made anythingfair game for inclusion in artwork, while Pop Art had opened up a world of media culture for appropriation and depiction.
It is probably in the world of photography where the biggest changes theseventies would bring were felt. While masters of fine art photography were able to show their work, finally, at galleries devoted exclusively to photography, a new generation of artist-photographers beganto develop, where photography was used not just for its own sake but as another conceptual tool. The groundbreaking work of such disparate artists as John Pfahl, Nan Goldin, and Cindy Shermandemonstrates the potential of photography in the world of contemporary art, a potential it was to fulfill beyond all expectations in the decades to come.
As we formulate the art history of the latetwentieth century, the 1980s are clearly a crucial turning point. Neo-Expressionism, New Image painting, the East Village scene, graffiti art, and neo-conceptualism were a few of the movements thatreached zeniths of varying heights and vulnerability during the era. It was a period of boom and bust; twenty-six-year-old painters became glamorous superstars who couldn't make work fast enough for their...