Author: Rainald Schumacher --- Date: 11/20/95--- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Beat Culture and the New America 1950 - 1965
Whitney Museum of American Art
Madison Avenue at 76th St.
Nov. 9th 1995 - February 4th 1996

I had something different in mind, somewhere loaded onto the imagebank in memory. But immediately after entering the exhihition, organized by Whitney curator Lisa Phillips, these images where gone. All the colourful world of OP and POP art, which I had mysteriously mixed up with beatniks. But I grew up in that op and pop world. That was the time to read On The Road. It's amazing to see the original role. Even to see DeFeo's masterwork, The Rose. 1958-1966, she has spent eight years on this piece. I don't understand, but suddenly it's clear that my view to that time in the past had some images in front. The images of the New America, Hippies, Love-Ins and sleeping in a luxury hotel bed. The show offers a good possibility to get an idea of history and also it makes clear that history is always constructed through human thinking. It's the difference which makes this work, The Rose, so strangely touching. The difference in time compared to the later sixties and seventies. The difference in colour. It's quiet, like dust on a book. Anyway, the paintings do need more space and the paperwork by William Burroughs is breathtaking if you love literature. Did they really start again with all these old ideas of communication, taking the time to think about something and to rock your religion?

-Rainald Schumacher

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