ReFocus: Art of the 1980s – 11/27/2012
Much of American art in the 1980s was shaped by and responded to the consumerism and feel-good conservatism of the era. Yet, it is the art that many people missed while they were busy living in a material world. In a decade preoccupied with success and image, art got bigger: bigger in scope, ambition, theme, budget and promotion. Art also became far bigger as a cultural presence. Neo-Expressionism, New Image painting, the East Village scene, graffiti art, and neo-conceptualism were a few of the movements that reached zeniths of varying heights and vulnerability during the era. It was a period of boom and bust; twenty-six-year-old painters became glamorous superstars who couldn’t make work fast enough for their corporate buyers. In a decade driven by conspicuous consumption, the art world participated fully, promoting inflated prices and shooting star careers. Many of the artists who came to prominence in that era remain major figures in contemporary art.