Art has been used as a form of social commentary, personal expression, a practice of skills, and an array of other reasons. The strength of art within our world has been notable for ages. Throughout eras like the Renaissance and the 19th century, art has been a key aspect of society and culture. Within our modern era there are certain periods of time that art helped immensely define and make a period and vice versa. Two particular decades that famously had strong styles were the 1960s and the 1970s.
Pieces of art made during this time are, for the most part, heavily influenced by the political climate of the time, the changing of society, and simply a change of aesthetic. Through the lens of Williams College Museum of Art we can see not only a reflection of the 1960’s and the 1970’s but also a personal attachment from the faculty and students about what art from the 60’s and 70’s spoke to them during their own era. Williams College Museum of Art has always acquired artwork that spoke to the faculty and/or the student body. This makes the College’s collection even more special and personal because of the added aspect that each piece of work was chosen for some personal reason. The Williams College of Art takes into account how a piece of art will speak to their student body and thus there are periods where some art is acquired more than other eras.
By taking a deeper look into the art of the 1960’s and 1970’s that the college owns, a number of inferences can be made not only about the college but also about the climate and popularity of styles and colors of those two decades of art. Through the college’s museum, insight into what art was prolific, how art was characterized, and simply how art helps in representing an era can be understood through a series of data visualizations.
To begin our research, we extracted data from the original dataset and cleaned it to only include artwork made in the 1960s and 1970s. From thereon-out, the visualizations we set forward to analyze have to do with color, artists & years, and medium & media.
The timeline below includes events and innovations occurring at the WCMA during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as important dates in American history to help contextualize the environment surrounding life in America during that time period.