What are we to make of the art of the Seventies? Are we in a position to write its history? Some people obviously think so. For we have now been given two enterprises which take the art of the Seventies as their subject: Corrine Robbins’s book, The Pluralist Era: American Art, 1968-1981,[1] and the exhibition, “A New Beginning: 1968-1978,” organized by Mary Delahoyd, professor of art history at Sarah Lawrence College, at The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York.[2]

Once it was thought that fifty years was the minimum amount of time that was needed for viewing “recent” art with the necessary detachment. That was the rule in effect at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, for example, until very recent times. Yet even...


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