Interactive Feature

Making Sense of Modern Art: The Sixties and Seventies

Making Sense of Modern Art offers an extensive and engaging guide to modern and contemporary works in SFMOMA's permanent collection. This section of the program explores the art movements of the 1960s and 1970s through the work of eight groundbreaking artists.

The 1960s and 1970s were a tremendously fruitful and experimental period in modern art. In the words of the art critic Kenneth Baker: "It was one of the last moments in which it was possible to believe that the work artists were doing in their studios would really affect the world." As the development of Pop art and Minimalism led to a break from the expressive, gestural aesthetics of the 1950s, many artists began to raise new questions about the production and consumption of art. An idealistic desire to reject the influences of the marketplace resulted in experimentation with site-specific works that addressed politics, the environment, and feminist concerns. The development of new technologies was also an important artistic impetus: among other innovations, this period witnessed the birth of the early video movement.