”West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977 opens this winter at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

EUGENE, Ore. -- (November 5, 2012) – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art looks back at the art of the ‘60s and ‘70s with “West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977,” on view February 9 through April 28, 2013. The exhibition opens with a free, public reception on Friday, February 8, from 6 to 8 p.m.


In the heady and hallucinogenic days of the 1960s and ’70s, a diverse range of artists and creative individuals based in the American West—from the Pacific Coast to the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest—broke the barriers between art and lifestyle and embraced the new, hybrid sensibilities of the countercultural movement. “West of Center” explores their unique integration of art practices, political action, and collaborative life activities.


Featuring videos, photographs, drawings, constructions, ephemera, and other artifacts, the exhibition addresses the experiential art activities that incorporated dance, video, performance, political action and communal life, all aimed at creating utopian life-styles, personal growth, and social transformation. The countercultural movement has typically been associated with psychedelic art, but “West of Center” presents psychedelia as only one dimension of a wider integration of art practices.


Curated by Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner, from the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, “West of Center” brings together a range of projects by groups and individuals.  This includes the multi-media light show “The Single Wing Turquoise Bird,” a 15-foot tall geodesic dome and video environment presenting the hand-built architecture of Drop City commune, in Colorado,; video and photographic documentation of dances by Anna Halprin, performances by The Cockettes and The Angels of Light, an inflatable installation designed by the collective Ant Farm , and ephemera from the Black Panthers and Lesbian Feminist Communes in Southern Oregon.


“West of Center” also features a re-creation of the legendary “Ultimate Painting” (1966), a spinning circular canvas made for Drop City’s “Theatre Dome.” Lost after its exhibition in Robert Rauschenberg’s “Experiments in Art and Technology” at the Brooklyn Museum in 1969, this work was recreated in 2011 by Clark Richert, one of its original makers.


“West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977” is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The exhibition is supported, in part, with funds provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and the National Endowment for the Arts. It is made possible at the JSMA by the Coeta and Donald Barker Special Exhibitions Endowment Fund and JSMA members.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Link: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,