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Prints POP in “It’s New / It’s Now”

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The 1970s

We recall the 1970s as an era of disco, environmentalism, hot pants, and anti-war protests. The political awareness of the 1960s spilled into the 1970s. However, political demonstrations became more violent. In the US, citizens took firm stances against nuclear warfare, calling for peace and an end to war hawk tendencies. Public distrust in large corporations rose to an all time high and the public concern for the natural environment took center stage.

In the 1970s, printmaking experienced changes of its own, entering into the modern repertoire of popular artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Sam Francis and Jasper Johns. The popularization of printmaking was influenced by print shops’ new multidisciplinary approach that allowed artists to cross mediums and push boundaries.

In this 1970 print, Lichtenstein confronts the controversial Vietnam wartime activities of DuPont Chemical Company. See Peace through Chemistry II on view in “It’s New / It’s Now: Recent Gifts of Contemporary Prints and Drawings” at the MIA.

Check back next week when we explore the yuppies, hairspray, monotypes, aerobics, and neo-expressionism of the 1980s.

Chemistry_520Roy Lichtenstein (United States, North America), Peace through Chemistry II, 1970, Color lithograph and screenprint. Gift of Mary and Bob Mersky 2012.119. ©Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

More about the artist and print

Part of a series of four monumental lithographs, Lichtenstein’s Peace through Chemistry II is something of a visual puzzle as it’s based on a collaged drawing that he subsequently altered for each print. Its title derives from DuPont Chemical Company’s famous slogan of the period, “Better Things for Better Living…through Chemistry.” Comprising three distinct elements, the lithograph signifies the relationship between man, technology, and nature, which remain separate—despite idealistic slogans. Produced during the height of American involvement in the Vietnam War, the print highlighted DuPont’s controversial wartime activities, including the production of napalm and the defoliant Agent Orange.

Visit “It’s New / It’s Now: Recent Gifts of Contemporary Prints and Drawings” to see Peace through Chemistry II and 120 other contemporary prints and drawings in person. Reserve your tickets today!

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