Return to the 1960s at the Chester County Art Association
● By J. Chambless
'Draft Age Study No. 3' by Jamie Wyeth has been loaned for the exhibition.
By John Chambless
The social upheaval and explosion of a
new culture in the 1960s resulted in some lasting changes to art,
fashion and design, and the Chester County Art Association is
distilling some of the best moments for their annual fundraiser show,
which this year is “Art as Change: 1960s Revolutionary Images.”
The show, which opens with a gala reception on Oct. 13, continues through Oct. 29 in West Chester. It spotlights privately owned art and design pieces from regional collectors. There are more than 50 dazzling posters for concerts that stretch the bounds of graphics and design. There are prints by landmark artists such as Warhol, Wesselmann and Lichtenstein, along with sculpture by Bertoia and furniture by Knoll and Eames that helped define the era's style. At the opening party on Oct. 13, guests can see Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a Volkswagen Beetle and a 1967 Jaguar XKE.
For Wendy Kershner, the executive director of the Art Association, the show combines the groovy fun of the era with some important social messages – civil rights, women's liberation, the anti-war movement – that resonate in today's divided nation.
“The idea for this show germinated last year with the 'Chester County Collects' show, and we had about nine of these posters,” Kershner said. “They became the core of this year's exhibit. It's been a fun journey, sleuthing out all kinds of iconic pieces and trying to tell the story of the changes in the art world, and the world in general. We did stay away from some of the clothing, the ephemera, the commercial things like Hula-Hoops and whatnot.”
When it comes to the psychedelic posters, “sometimes part of the fun is trying to figure out what in the world the posters are saying,” she said. “The type becomes art in itself.”
For fans of the Wyeths, a sketch for Jamie Wyeth's iconic portrait, “Draft Age,” has been loaned by the artist for the show as well.
On Oct. 13, there will be a cocktail preview for sponsors and collectors from 5 to 7 p.m. (tickets $100), followed by a public reception with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and live 1960s music from 7 to 10 p.m. (tickets $50). Proceeds benefit the ongoing exhibitions and classes at the art center. The exhibition is open, free of charge, through Oct. 29.
Educational lectures about aspects of the era and the exhibition are scheduled Oct. 17, 19, 24 and 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. A closing reception to meet the collectors of the objects on view will be held Oct. 29 from 2 to 4 p.m.
The show is intended to create an immersive atmosphere that echoes the energy and vibrancy of the 1960s. Those attending the opening receptions are encouraged to dress in 1960s style, Kershner said.
“Absolutely,” she said, laughing. “I don't know how many people can still get into their old '60s clothes, but yes, we're going for that look and that vibrancy. I need to find white go-go boots,” she added, smiling.
Another benefit for the art center is taking place through Oct. 28 as the John Hall, Sr., art collection goes up for bids. The longtime art collector purchased works by landmark regional artists, and a percentage of the proceeds from an auction of the works on Oct. 28 will benefit the art center. Works by Peter Sculthorpe, several paintings and drawings by Barclay Rubincam, vintage signed prints by Andrew Wyeth, and several paintings by Philip Jamison will be featured, along with a William Freeland mixed-media work from 1954 titled “Chalice,” and a watercolor by John W. McCoy. The collection is on view through Oct. 28 at the Chester County Art Center, and the live/phone auction will be held Oct. 28 at 5 p.m.
“John Hall was dedicated to promoting the arts, and promoting and collecting Chester County artwork,” Kershner said. “The family had the idea that they would like to have the art center benefit from the sale of part of the estate. It's a range of things, small and large, but all very good quality. Phil Jamison is going to do a talk on Oct. 3 about the collection, and about his relationship with the Hall family, and about what a discerning eye John Hall had.”
The Chester County Art Association is at 100 N. Bradford Ave., West Chester. For more information, call 610-696-5600 or visit www.chestercountyarts.org.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.