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THE NOW FUTURISM AND THE THEN ZEITGEIST: MIKE KUCHAR’S SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS (1965)

Illustration from Here Is a Foretaste of Tomorrow, promotional pamphlet for General Motors’ Futurama II, World’s Fair Pavilion, New York, 1964–65.

Some artists see an infinite number of movies. . . .

—Robert Smithson, “Entropy and the New Monu­ments,” Artforum, June 1966

THE ATOMIC WAR of October 1962 had been averted. There was a heady moment—presaged by the New York World’s Fair that opened in the spring of 1964 and heralded by the appearance of Roy Lichtenstein’s drawing Great Rings of Saturn!! on the cover of Art in America that April: Pop Art merged with Science Fiction, and the Future was Now.

This was not necessarily perceived as a Bad Thing. The celluloid harbinger of the Now Futurism was Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert. “My intention was to translate the poetry of [the industrial] world, in which even factories can be beautiful,” Antonioni said of his first color movie—a chic, gorgeous, supremely alienated evocation of poison smog and toxic waste as filtered through Monica Vitti’s ontological

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