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Art Diary

Poke in the Eye: Art of the West Coast Counterculture

17 June 2024

In the 1960s and ’70s, artists up and down the West Coast of the United States began producing unusual and irreverent work, rebelling against the perceived formality of the East Coast art world. Particularly prolific were those based in Seattle and the Bay Area, whose creations were colourful, playful and often a little absurd – markedly different from the minimalist work that dominated in cities such as New York. The anti-establishment efforts of those West Coast artists, which often incorporated craft materials and techniques, are the focus of this exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum (21 June–2 September). The show is divided into four thematic sections, such as ‘Send-ups of Art History’ and ‘Anti-form and Anti-function’, and ends with a room dedicated to ‘funk’ artist Xenobia Bailey, who is best known for her vibrant textile creations. Particularly eye-catching works on display include Patti Warashina’s delightful sculpture Airstream Turkey (1969), which smuggles the qualities of a silver-coloured Airstream trailer into the shape of a cooked bird.

Find out more from the Seattle Art Museum’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary

Airstream Turkey (1969), Patti Warashina. Seattle Art Museum. © Patti Warashina

Les Demoiselles d’Alabama: Vestidas (1985), Robert Colescott. Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Nathaniel Willson; © Estate of Robert Colescott/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Dirty Dish (1971), Robert Arneson. Seattle Art Museum. © Robert Arneson