Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2155 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
February 8 – May 21, 2017
Public Preview: February 7, 7-10 pm
February 8, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive opens Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia. Hippie Modernism explores the intersections of art, design, and architecture with the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s, bringing together a wide range of art and artifacts from the period. Employing Timothy Leary’s mantra “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” as a point of departure, Hippie Modernism explores pharmacological, technological, and spiritual attempts to expand consciousness and alter perceptions of reality. Alongside these gestures toward personal transformation and growth, the exhibition tracks the development of a publishing revolution and its creation of new networks and communities—platforms which served to raise awareness of social and political issues, to democratize tools and technologies, and to present possibilities of more communal and ecologically responsible ways of living. Hippie Modernism includes painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography, as well as experimental furniture, alternative living structures, immersive and participatory media environments, alternative publishing and ephemera, and experimental film.
Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia is organized in conjunction with the Walker Art Center, and curated by Andrew Blauvelt of the Cranbrook Art Museum. The Walker Art Center presented the first iteration of Hippie Modernism (October 2015 – February 2016), before it travelled to the Cranbrook Art Museum (June – October 2016). Hippie Modernism at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will be the exhibition’s final presentation.
Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, the exhibition’s accompanying publication, is less a documentation of the exhibition’s development, and more of a direct engagement with the exhibited materials and related practices, housing a selection of project proposals, interviews, new scholarly work, and much more—physically, the publication is a mash-up of the Whole Earth Catalog and the People’s Yellow Pages. An excerpted chapter by Andrew Blauvelt is available online.