Walker gallery tackles counterculture

New exhibit explores aspects of hippie lifestyle

Ethan Brown

According to Andrew Blauvelt, former senior curator at the The Walker Art Center, the hippie movement was a time to search for oneself and liberates others from social constrictions. He said the Walker’s new exhibit captures those same aspects in “Hippie Modernism.”

The exhibit, which opened Oct. 24, has over 300 works and focuses on the design of counterculture, living in opposition to prevailing social norms, within the hippie movement.

Junior Simon Lewin said he thinks the exhibit will draw people, and said students have a natural attraction to hippie culture.

“I think the fact that hippies are a focus will draw in a lot of people,” Lewin said. “Kids nowadays are so interested in hippie culture because of how vastly contradictory the supposed hippie lifestyle is to how most of us kids live now.”

Blauvelt said the exhibit features many different components of hippie counterculture.

“There are many immersive spaces in the show,” Blauvelt said. “A liquid light show room, a grove of grove of citrus trees grown under artificial light, a geodesic dome dome with a strobe lit painting.

According to Blauvelt, teenagers should care about the hippie movement and what the Walker displays because they live in a world filled with art.

“(Teenagers) live in a contemporary world and the Walker is a temporary arts museum,” Blauvelt said. “Specifically, for this show, so many aspects of contemporary life–culture, society, and politics–can be traced to this point and have their roots here.”

Lewin said the exhibit sounds intriguing and he hopes he will have the chance to see it.

“I personally appreciate all the arts, performing or fine,” Lewin said. “I would hardly pass up a chance to expose myself to new forms of it.”

Sophomore Abdul Ibrahim said he believes students don’t pay enough attention to art, and he hopes this exhibit will draw some in.

“Students definitely don’t pay enough attention to art, so many people thinks it’s lame,” Ibrahim said. “It should really get more attention because art is everywhere and we have art around us throughout all of life.”

Ibrahim said he turns to art when life begins to drag, and hopes to attend the exhibit.

“I think it’d be really cool to go to,” Ibrahim said. “I love art, and I think you have to have art in your life or else things get dull.”

Blauvelt said the movement is important because of the long lasting effect it had on societal structure.

“The counterculture movement, of which hippies were a part of, redirected the course of late-twentieth century culture,” Blauvelt said. “These effects are still with us: gender equality, racial justice, gay rights.”

The Hippie Modernism exhibit will run Oct. 24-Feb. 28 at the Walker Art Center. The exhibit is free for students, and costs $14 for adults.