The early 1970s: a good time for America, or the greatest time for America? Yeah, not the best time for the global economy. And okay, airlines disasters were a regular news segment alongside weather and sports. But also, facelifts were invented. Cars averaged 8 miles a gallon. Southern rock. The Munich Olympics.
Ha ha, okay, full disclosure: I'm using irony here. The early '70s weren't the best. I haven't even gotten to the big one: Watergate. During this month 40 years ago, the Senate began hearings on the whole fiasco. It's easy to imagine that our generation invented dysfunctional politics, but c'mon. Watergate created quite the scandal.
It wasn't all bad, though. First off, the Jackson 5, right? But also, art. On a sunny day in 1974, Ivan Albright sat in room 603 of the by-then-infamous Watergate Hotel and, with a set of colored pencils, sketched the view he saw. Albright, an artist famous for pulling no punches in depicting the innerugliness of his subjects, seems to eschew any hint of the toxicity associated with his location. Instead he shows us the Potomac river with Impressionistic directness, using bright greens and deep blues. I was in Washington, D.C. last month—I saw the beauty Albright saw here. The news is always going to be a bummer, so remember to look around on a spring day. Have a nice long weekend, everyone.
Image Credit: Ivan Albright. View from Room 603, Watergate, Washington, D.C., 1974. Gift of Ivan Albright.
2 days 13 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Bring Vincent van Gogh’s The Bedroom home with you with our spectacular throw you can hang, hug, or drape.
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Thanks to Common for his thoughtful response to Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem. See the exhibition before it closes this Sunday.
2 days 20 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Curator Judy Barter highlights the unexpectedly poignant story behind Double Portrait of the Artist in Time by American surrealist Helen Lundeberg.
Visit America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s and explore the rich cross-section of American artists seeking to forge a new national identity in troubled times.