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V&A to host exhibition on the 1960s cultural revolution


The V&A is set to present a landmark exhibition exploring the cultural and social impact of the 1960s on the modern world.

Entitled ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70’, the exhibition will document the remarkable upheaval of those five short years through interactive displays, music and more than 350 artefacts.

These will include a shopping list written behind barricades during the 1968 Paris student riots; a moon rock and the NASA space suit worn by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders; issues of underground magazines such as Oz and the International Times; an Ossie Clark outfit worn by Mick Jagger; a rare Apple 1 computer; pieces of Jimi Hendrix’s smashed guitar; the suits worn by John Lennon and George Harrison on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and original artworks by pioneering Pop artist Richard Hamilton.

"This ambitious framing of late 1960s counterculture shows the incredible importance of that revolutionary period to our lives today," said Martin Roth, Director of the V&A.

"This seminal exhibition will shed new light on the wide-reaching social, cultural and intellectual changes of the late 1960s which followed the austerity of the post-war years, not just in the UK but throughout the Western world. Our collections at the V&A, unrivalled in their scope and diversity, make us uniquely placed to present this exhibition.”

The exhibition begins with a recreation of Carnaby Street, the cultural heart of Swinging London which served as the epicentre for new trends in fashion, music, art and photography.

Next up is an area exploring the period’s underground clubs where drugs, psychedelia, the occult and the avante-garde combined to create a new, experimental counterculture – from Pink Floyd’s legendary performances at the UFO Club to the poster artwork of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat and Stanley Mouse.

Another area will document how this social upheaval spilled into political revolution, with focus on the 1968 Paris student riots, anti-Vietnam demonstrations and the rise of the Black Panters in the Civil Rights Movement.

Elsewhere the exhibition will tackle the decade’s rise of consumerism, the importance of music festivals such as Woodstock and Glastonbury as grand social gatherings, and the way in which experimental communes on the West Coast of America became the birthplace of the communication and computer revolutions.

‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70’ opens on September 10, 2016 and runs until February 26, 2017.


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