A tribute to the cradle of modern youth culture

British art of the 1960s is the focus of this year’s annual – and always impressive – summer exhibition being held at the Museum of Contemporary Art on the island of Andros by the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation. «Metamorphosis,» which runs from June 26 to September 25, comes after a series of landmark exhibitions by the prestigious Greek museum, only this time the museum is hosting a thematic group show rather than focusing on one particular artist. The exhibition consists of representative works from the 1960s by leading British artists such as Bridget Riley, Howard Hodgkin and Richard Hamilton, as well as key works associated with British pop art, abstract painting from the short-lived Situation Group and abstract colored sculpture by Anthony Caro and younger sculptors, commonly known as the New Generation Group. Beyond the trends that developed in the ’60s and which continue to shape today’s sense of aesthetic, it was a decade of prosperity and change that altered the post-World War II world for good, giving rise to a global youth culture and heralding pioneering art movements that survive today. Britain in general, and London in particular, was the undisputed center of the new generation, a nursery of new ideas and movements, be they social or political in character. Indeed, the title of the exhibition, «Metamorphosis» – borrowed from an early painting by Bridget Riley – denotes the exhibition’s intention to reveal the pictorial transformations of the time. New forms of expression emerged alongside the social and economic changes of the postwar period, an era whose dynamism transcended and magnetized the broad range of artistic activity that developed in Europe as well as in the United States. Although Britain greeted with reserve the groundbreaking artistic movements of the beginning of the century, during the ’60s it had a primary, substantial role in the formation of contemporary iconography through the inclusion of individuals and groups of people that otherwise bore no particular similarities. It was in Britain in the early 1960s that the lasting pop art movement made its first appearance and a group of Royal College of London students – led by the likes of Peter Blake, Richard Smith, Joe Tilson, Derek Boshier, Patrick Caulfield, David Hockney, Allen Jones and Peter Phillips – transformed the way we view paintings, enriching the existing idiom with collage or photography. At the same time, the pioneers of abstraction and op art also drew on their urban environment, popular culture and the consumer society for inspiration, transforming it through abstract forms and color. The urban environment is the focus of the artists’ cooperative Situation Group, whose output is defined by the use of vibrant, intense colors and hallucinatory imagery. «Make art out of anything» was the advice that British sculptor Anthony Caro gave his students. He was an artist who has become identified with the passage from traditional sculpture to new forms dominated by color, abstract shapes and compositions of a variety of materials such as metal and plastic. The exhibition is being held in collaboration with the British Council and the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, from which the greater number of works originate. The exhibition consists of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures of the following artists: David Annesley, Gillian Ayers, Peter Blake, Derek Boshier, Patrick Caulfield, Bernard Cohen, Barrie Cook, Robyn Denny, Antony Donaldson, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, John Hoyland, Paul Huxley, Allen Jones, Michael Kidner, Jeremy Moon, Eduardo Paolozzi, Peter Phillips, John Plumb, Bridget Riley, Peter Sedgeley, Colin Self, Richard Smith, Ian Stephenson, Joe Tilson, Michael Bolus, Anthony Caro, Garth Evans, Philip King, and Isaac Witkin. «Metamorphosis» runs from June 26 to September 25 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros, tel 22820.224.44.