1970s – Redux

David Reed #112 1976
“Dorothea Rockburne and Ralph Humphrey showed their work uptown at Bykert Gallery, where, like other young artists, I could walk into the director Klaus Kertess’s office to chat with him about his and other shows. In those years, within the painting community, there was a sense of shared concerns that could be debated and discussed. I could join in the ongoing conversations of friends and colleagues as I viewed shows. We often disagreed, but because we had a mutual vocabulary, the con- versations continued—anyone could join.”
[David Reed Streets and Studios Abstract Painting in the 70s]

“The center was not holding. It was a country of bankruptcy notices and public-auction announcements and commonplace reports of casual killings and misplaced children and abandoned homes and vandals who misspelled even the four-letter words they scrawled. It was a country in which families routinely disappeared, trailing bad checks and repossession papers. Adolescents drifted from city to torn city, sloughing off both the past and the future as snakes shed their skins, children who were never taught and would never now learn the games that had held the society together. People were missing. Children were missing. Parents were missing. Those who were left behind filed desultory missing-persons reports, then moved on themselves.”
[Joan Didion Slouching Towards Bethlehem 1967]

Lynda Benglis created this lava-like form by pouring a foamy polymer and allowing gravity to help direct the final shape. She then cast the form in aluminum, giving the sculpture a new sense of permanence that connects to a long history of cast sculptures, which often stand erect on a pedestal to boldly announce their presence. Benglis created this work when clean lines, rigid grids, and the removal of the evidence of making were the prevailing approaches in creating art. 
[Lynda Benglis Eat Meat 1973]

Outside in the streets, Arnett saw Russian-made trucks rolling through the city “loaded with young North Vietnamese in battle garb, their green pith helmets tilted back as they peer in wonder at the tall buildings they are passing, probably the first they’d ever seen,” as he recalled in his new book, Saigon Has Fallen. He watched a separate set of soldiers, from the South Vietnamese military, strip off their uniforms and discard their weapons as they scampered away.
“I couldn’t comprehend it,” Arnett told me. “That I was seeing, I was seeing, this happening in a city that, to me—it had been inviolate forever. But when you consider the kind of effort that was put in to maintain the independence, this wasn’t a place that was just thrown away. I mean right at the end, there was an enormous effort.”
“And yet,” he said of the communists, “here they were.”
Arnett recalled locals standing around him, “mouths agape.” He went back to the office. “I was just, I was sort of almost overwhelmed with feeling. … And I’d never felt that way in my life before. … But I was able to actually, you know, shout out to George Esper, our wonderful bureau chief, ‘Saigon has fallen. Call New York.’”
[Kathy Gilsinan on the Fall of Saigon]

So the idea of the photograph was a huge influence on my thinking, but not only me, the history of painting. If I had to state the one most important influence on painting, it would be the photograph. When the photograph was invented and artists saw what the photograph could do, it changed the course of history, I’m telling you. That’s where it starts. That’s where it starts. I think a lot of art historians will back me up on that. Photography changed the course of art history in painting and it’s been an ongoing process.”
[Jack Whitten Chinese Sincerity 1974]

Dean: All right, after rejecting that, they said, “We still need something,” so I was told to look around for somebody that could go over to 1701 and do this. And that’s when I came up with Gordon Liddy, who– they needed a lawyer. Gordon had an intelligence back- ground from his FBI service. I was aware of the fact that he had done some extremely sensitive things for the White House while he’d been at the White House, and he had apparently done them well. Uh, going out into Ellsberg’s doctor’s office…
President: Oh, yeah.
Dean: … and things like this. He’d worked with leaks. He’d, you know, tracked these things down. Uh, and (coughs) so the report that I got from Krogh was that he was a hell of a good man and, and not only that, a good lawyer, uh, and could set up a proper operation. So we talked to Liddy. Liddy was interested in doing it. Took, uh, Liddy over to meet Mitchell. Mitchell thought highly of him because, apparently, Mitchell was partially involved in his ev–coming to the White House to work for, for Krogh. Uh, Liddy had been at Treasury before that. Then Liddy was told to put together his plan, you know, how he would run an intelligence operation. And this was after he was hired over there at the, uh, the Committee. Magruder called me in January and said, “I’d like to have you come over and see Liddy’s plan.
President: January of ’72?
Dean: January of ’72. (Background noises) Like, “You come over to Mitchell’s office and sit in on a meeting where Liddy is going to lay his plan out.” I said, “Well, I don’t really know as I’m the man, but if you want me there I’ll be happy to.” (Clears throat) So, I came over and Liddy laid out a million dollar plan that was the most incredible thing I have ever laid my eyes on. All in codes, and involved black bag operations, kidnapping, providing prostitutes, uh, to weaken the opposition, bugging, uh, mugging teams. It was just an incredible thing.
[Nixon Tapes Transcript March 21, 1973]

Elizabeth Murray Southern California 1975
JH Let’s go back to what you said about being self-conscious. I wonder if I would have done all the work I did—because I went ahead and did it anyway and I didn’t stop to think: Well, how come I’m the only woman invited to read at poetry readings? There’re twenty guys reading and there’s only one of me.
EM I was in that situation many times in the seventies, I’m sure you’ve heard: “You’re the only one who’s any good. And it has nothing to do with gender, it’s that your work is the strongest.” And of course, there’s a part of me that was very flattered — “Thank you, boys.” And I think there is a part of me, and I’m older than you are, who’s always really wanted the guys to say, “You’re great.” It’s like wanting your Dad to say, “You’ve made it, you’re one of us,” because it’s as if women are one gender, but men encompass everything. When you talk about humankind, you talk about men. You read stories to your kids, and everybody’s a boy. With my daughters, I used to change it so that there would be girls in the stories. Even in the eighties, and even in the books written by women, the little animals, the deer, the bunnies would all be genderized into boys. Now, at 56, I consciously know this, but you can’t let that be an embittering factor in your work. And I won’t say it doesn’t make me angry, but you can’t let yourself be pulled down by it. It’s a fact of our existence, like the rain, and if it’s raining, you take your umbrella and you go out. You can’t let it stop you, but you can’t be a Pollyanna about it either. All I know is that there are more younger women artists around and they have a different viewpoint from mine. They seem much tougher and more dismissive, and they know it, too. To me that seems better. [Elizabeth Murray in conversation with Jessica Hagedorn]

“They have arrived like a new immigrant wave in male America. They may be cops, judges, military officers, telephone linemen, cab drivers, pipefitters, editors, business executives — or mothers and housewives, but not quite the same subordinate creatures they were before. Across the broad range of American life, from suburban tract houses to state legislatures, from church pulpits to Army barracks, women’s lives are profoundly changing, and with them, the traditional relationships between the sexes. …1975 was not so much the Year of the Woman as the Year of the Women — an immense variety of women altering their lives, entering new fields, functioning with a new sense of identity, integrity and confidence.
It is difficult to locate the exact moment when the psychological change occurred. A cumulative process, it owes much to the formal feminist movement—the Friedans and Steinems and Abzugs. Yet feminism has transcended the feminist movement. In 1975 the women’s drive penetrated every layer of society, matured beyond ideology to a new status of general—and sometimes unconscious—acceptance.” [Time Magazine Women of the Year 1976]

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