Time in art usually is read as it is in our lives — serially, one year after another, tracking that elusive entity, change. When did things change? we ask ourselves. How do we recognize that a thing is no longer itself but something else? We attempt to explain the difference by establishing cause and effect — our rational view of events. From this we construct history, or perhaps more accurately, “history” — something that fits the data until a more convincing (though not necessarily more accurate) view comes along. History and theories of history bedevil our efforts to locate and explain change. Occasionally, we are provoked to cut the Gordian knot — to interrupt and smooth continuities bearing us across decades and periods — and cross-section the past.
The exhibition “1967: At the Crossroads” focuses on a single year in a pivotal decade of American art, a moment when rising and waning issues intersected and competing aesthetics permeated a crowded cultural climate. For this reason, the selection has been as representative as possible, and includes color-field painting, large-scale public sculpture, minimal art, post minimalism, earthworks, conceptual pieces, pop art, and realism.
-Janet Kardon, Curator and ICA Director, 1987