Colors

Median of brightness used in works

Median of hues used

The first graph that displays the brightness used in works of the 60’s and 70’s displays that era was one dominated by bright colors. It was more popular to use a lighter palette than a darker one. Whether it was the taste of the college to simply acquire brighter pieces of work, or if the era was defined by brightness, we can see that during a tumultuous era of war and heavy politics that using or seeing dark colors was not desired. The graph of hues also displays that hues of red were a popular option. In general,  using loud colors seems to be the choice rather than grim, darker colors. These two graphs make statements for how we can define the era of the 60’s and 70’s simply through looking at a palette of colors used.

The 1960s marks the introduction of pop art, op art, psychedelic art, and names like Lichtenstein and Warhol, who are today considered pioneers of contemporary art. These art movements are characterized by bright, spontaneous colors, and embody cultural movements that represent post-war conflict and turmoil. These colors, normally thought of as clashing, were embraced by the time period in favor of the feelings of post-war freedom. The contrast between black and white colors was also commonly used in op art.

However, the tone changed in the 1970s towards neutrals and earthy tones, such as the iconic avocado-green. The 70s marks a time when the country was recovering from the stresses of the Vietnam War, and favored colors of peace and calm. The dominant colors only an echo their vibrancy, as many images are much darker than the vibrant 60s. The art of the 70s were almost a sign of counterculture, reversing the hippie notes of the 60s when politicians were revealed as corrupt and war demanded sacrifice. It abruptly put hippie culture to a halt, as if those optimistic smiley-face t-shirts were no longer appropriate. Americans changed their focus to be more organic and natural, and this is demonstrated with the color shift.