Best Show About Our Hippie History (2012)

West of Center

The hippie movement of the '60s and '70s played an important part in Colorado history. Like other spots in the American West, this state was invaded by hordes of young free-thinkers in VW buses; they camped out in Capitol Hill, Boulder, Nederland and Manitou Springs, as well as more isolated spots. West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977, put together by Museum of Contemporary Art director Adam Lerner and his wife, Elissa Auther, attempted to establish an upward reappraisal of the West's place in the art world by celebrating the contributions of this movement. Though different parts of the show dealt with different parts of the West, notably California, the crescendo came in the section devoted to Colorado's legendary Drop City art cooperative near Trinidad, and one of Drop City's founders, Clark Richert, emerged as the clear star of the show. West of Center reminded us that many of the region's master artists came here as barefoot kids with pie-in-the-sky notions about how to revolutionize art and community — and many of them are still trying to do so.


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