The 1970s was a decade of good and bad: Unforgettable music, and some songs we’d rather ignore. Unfortunate fashion choices, with a few that were actually rather cool.
And there was some pretty groovy art, too.
The Columbia Museum of Art’s new “That ’70s Show” exhibit offers the chance to explore rarely seen works from a decade-sized slice of the CMA’s collection of contemporary art.
“This exhibition is one I’ve been wanting to organize, because the ’70s were formative years for me, and the decade fascinates me in every way,” said Catherine Walworth, a curator at the museum. “It was also an opportunity to unearth several rarely seen gems from our collection and give audiences a fresh glimpse into just how much great art we have in storage.”
Artists include Alex Katz, Sylvia Mangold, Romare Bearden, Marisol, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, and Victor Vasarely.
“But there are also several incredible works by lesser-known artists that entered the collection in the 1970s and, in several cases, haven’t been seen since,” Walworth said. “It feels like they’ve been waiting for this particular exhibition to reappear in a full blast of glory.”
The museum promotes “That ’70s Show” as “drawing on the amusing nostalgia for the ‘decade that taste forgot,’ while showing a complicated portrait of art, current events, and identity in America.
“It was important to put all the art back into its historical context, because there were momentous cultural battles happening in the 1970s, waged by our former analog selves, and several pieces reflect those issues,” Walworth said. “Others are hypervisual. In the era after psychedelia and before the full-tilt digital world, experience mattered. To encourage that kind of slow looking and reflection, I’ve included bean bags and a timeline of events that will help transport visitors.”
And, whether you lived through the decade – or are just a fan of some of its best known movies (“Alien,” anyone?) – you’ll want to think about getting a team together for the museum’s ’70s Trivia Night on Thursday, July 6.
There will be questions on music, film, history, literature and, of course, art. There will be prizes for the top score, best costume, and best team name.
Want to practice? Test your ’70s knowledge with a few of these questions:
If you go
That ‘70s Trivia Night
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 6
WHERE: Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St.
WORTH NOTING: Teams are limited to six people. Cash bar
COST: $12 per team