Clay Geerdes, Cockettes Photo, 1972, color photograph, 32 x 24". From “West of Center,” MCA Denver.


“West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965–1977”

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (MCA DENVER)
1485 Delgany Street
November 10, 2011–February 19, 2012

Curated by Adam Lerner and Elissa Auther

The Happenings and Coalitions of the New York avant-garde are well known; less so their counterparts from the western US. In a concerted effort to redress this imbalance, “West of Center” assembles more than 130 artworks and artifacts from this highly experimental moment, investigating the extension of aesthetic thought outside of its comfort zone via hybridized modes of social, political, and ecological intervention by collective groups working left of the Continental Divide. Moving between the workshops of Anna and Lawrence Halprin, the media events of Ant Farm, and the agitprop posters of Black Panther Emory Douglas, with stops along the way for Drop City eco-aesthetics and psychedelic light shows, this exhibition (and its catalogue with two dozen contributors) will fill in some blanks in this era’s cultural history while also serving as a timely reminder of what artists can do in the absence of a viable market for art.