Walker Art Center Explores 1960’s Counterculture Architecture
You don’t need any pharmacological assistance to appreciate a Walker Art Center exhibition loosely inspired by the psychologist and psychedelic-drug advocator Timothy Leary. “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia,” on view at the Minneapolis museum through February 28, examines the intersections of counterculture art and architecture from the 1960’s and ’70’s.
The show’s three-part organization is based on Leary’s catchphrase: “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Each section features pieces that speak directly to the design world. Turning On, which considers altered states of perception, showcases the Superonda sofa, the wavy wonder designed by Archizoom Associati in 1966 and still being manufactured by Poltronova today. Tuning In, focusing on the role of media in social awareness, presents Ken Isaacs’s Superchair in its bookshelf-fitted frame. Evelyn Roth’s textiles, made from recycled wool, are found in the ecologically focused Dropping Out.
After the run at the Walker, “Hippie Modernism” travels to Michigan’s Cranbrook Art Museum . Isaacs was head of design there in the 1950’s.