If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Room: 1960s

This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk

Curator Chris Stephens explores the 1960s.

Learn more about the art featured in this video:
- Sir Anthony Caro, Early One Morning, 1962
- Peter Blake, Portrait of David Hockney in a Hollywood Spanish Interior, 1965
- Frank Bowling, Mirror, 1966.
Created by Tate.

Want to join the conversation?

  • purple pi purple style avatar for user Residuum
    Is there meant to be a proper angle to look at Early One Morning? Or was it intended to be viewed from all angles? I'd imagine it would look different from any point.
    (5 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • female robot grace style avatar for user Vlad Vyshkvarok
      That is a great question, actually. To my mind the whole concept of post-modern sculpture resides on its utmost subjectivity. Thus, it is a person's own decision - which angle to take and what feelings to collect from each and every angle. It is wonderful in terms of collaboration of the artist and the viewer, because the message conveyed depends not only on the artist, but more and more on the viewer.
      (7 votes)
  • piceratops tree style avatar for user Mary Frank
    I understand that Sir Anthony Caro created his sculptures based on the minimalist painters, like Rothko. However, I can't help but wonder if his monochromatic assemblage was inspired by Louise Nevelson. Would both of these artist be considered under the same stylistic camp in their assemblage pieces?
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

We are in the 1960s, a period of great social change which also saw massive changes in art. New subjects being painted by figurative artists, new forms of abstraction and at the end of the decade a new thing called conceptual art with performance and video arriving for the first time. Anthony Caro’s ‘Early One Morning’ is one of the landmark sculptures of the Twentieth Century. Caro famously worked with Henry Moore in the 1950s making bronze figures in his own work and then in 1960 went to America with the critic, Clement Greenberg, saw new forms of abstract painting and tried to achieve some of the qualities in his sculpture he started using standard lengths like I beams painting them these brilliant colours, welded and bolted together and then most importantly taking the sculpture off the plinth and putting it on the floor so it becomes part of the same environment in which we, the viewers, move. This painting brings together two of the great stars of the sixties, Peter Blake and David Hockney. It's Blake’s portrait of ‘Hockney in a Hollywood Spanish Interior’. It refers to the fact that Hockney had famously moved to Hollywood in the 1960s and became closely associated with that place. Both Blake and Hockney had been at the Royal College of Art before that and Hockney had become a star even while he was still a student. I love this painting because although it's not a collage, you can see these different elements layered. The figure in the background with the tight leather shorts is taken from a photograph by Michael Cooper and then as if laid onto the surface are these balloons, rather phallic combining with the boy in the background to give the whole thing this very strong homo-erotic undertone a reminder that homosexuality was still illegal in the mid-1960s in Britain. This is Frank Bowling’s ‘Mirror’. It is a painting about aspiration. It is based on the staircase that linked the Royal College of Art, where Bowling was a student alongside Hockney and others, with the V&A Museum. It links a place of anarchic exploration with a space of established culture and Bowling shows himself twice in this image reflecting a kind of confusion in his own identity. At the top he swings his leg out as if daring to challenge and to pursue that anarchic spirit of the Royal College but at the bottom he emerges more sedately, more refined, perhaps indicating his ambition to become integrated as an artist in Britain. What's fascinating about this room is it brings together artists of three different generations with quite different agendas and making different forms of art and yet the room is full of unexpected relationships and echoes and conversations going on between the different works. It's one of the great strengths of showing art simply by the period in which it was made.