We’re turned on by Walker Art Center’s celebration of 60s’ counterculture

Hippie Modernism

By Wava Carpenter

The recently opened exhibition Hippie Modernism at Minnapolis’s Walker Art Center caught our attention, not only with the delightful title but also with its titillating array of images documenting 60s-era radical material culture. From Jimi Hendrix to Archizoom, we just had to share.

Here’s a synopsis of what it’s all about:

This Walker-organized exhibition, assembled with the assistance of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, examines the intersections of art, architecture, and design with the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. A time of great upheaval, this period witnessed a variety of radical experiments that challenged societal and professional expectations, overturned traditional hierarchies, explored new media and materials, and formed alternative communities and new ways of living and working together. During this key moment, many artists, architects, and designers individually and collectively began a search for a new kind of utopia, whether technological, ecological, or political, and with it offered a critique of the existing society.

Loosely organized around Timothy Leary’s famous mantra, “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out,” Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia presents a broad range of art forms and artifacts of the era, including experimental furniture, alternative living structures, immersive and participatory media environments, alternative publishing and ephemera, and experimental film. Bringing into dramatic relief the limits of Western society’s progress, the exhibition explores one of the most vibrant and inventive periods of the not-too-distant past, one that still resonates within culture today. 

If you find yourself in up that way, it’s on view through February 2016. It’s also set to travel to Cranbrook and Berkeley Art Museum in 2016 and 2017. Peace.


  • Text by

    • Wava Carpenter

      Wava Carpenter

      After studying Design History, Wava has worn many hats in support of design culture: teaching design studies, curating exhibitions, overseeing commissions, organizing talks, writing articles—all of which informs her work now as Pamono’s Editor-in-Chief.

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