“Summer of Love”

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

With “Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era,” curator Christoph Grunenberg (director of Tate Liverpool, which organized this show) sets out to rescue ’60s psychedelic art from art-historical neglect. Visually striking, hard to institutionalize, and burdened by the failure of the era’s ambition to merge pleasure and politics, psychedelia is indeed fascinating—and full of paradox. Psychedelic art (and culture) respected no media boundaries, spanning architecture, design, film, fashion, music, and more. It challenged hierarchical distributions of authorship, was policed by no academy, and may have been more responsible than Pop art for undermining high/low barriers. It was also a harbinger of postmodern market populism, and as psychedelic styles spread over Madison Avenue like any other capitalist rash, the underground learned a thing or two about the Global Village’s spheres of exchange.

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