Fifty years ago, a revolution that gave the foundation to the world we live in has reshaped the way of thinking of many. From important ideologies through the foundations of technology to pop-culture, the late Sixties have brought a revolution to the Western world. A new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum explores the dramatic changes that the years 1966 – 70 have brought with its unique collection that will be open to public tomorrow.
It’s 1966. The Beatles shift their image and bring Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to the daylight. Jimi Hendrix takes over the title of the ultimate guitar god from Eric Clapton. King’s Road blooms with flower-children hanging out around the grooviest places, UFO at the Tottenham Court Road is the most modern place to go to – and the pacifists turn against the unnecessary violence. It’s the Sixties, and if you can remember that time, you haven’t been there. If you can’t, it’s also high time to explore the best of that time: and the newest exhibition at the V&A – You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 – that opens on the 10th of September.
Where the modern way of life started
Politics, consumerism, computing, global civil rights, multiculturalism – the exhibition starts a journey that spans across four significant years and defines the modern world. It defines the changes that were sparked by a first generation that didn’t see the cruelty of war – a generational mindset built on idealism and optimism, but unified in community and with a strong voice that questioned the establishment and negated the old ways. The display features more than 350 objects, including photos, posters, music, film, fashion, design – the ways of expression for the youth who have changed their way of living in an attempt to be radically different than their parents.
Hendrix’s guitar, Lucy in the Sky and Apple 1
What can we expect to see? The list of items takes us on a trip through history: from press clippings from underground magazines such as Oz or the International times, a shopping list written during the 1968 Paris student riots, an Apple 1 computer to suits worn by George Harrison and John Lennon on the cover of the classic Sgt. Pepper, handwritten lyrics to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, shards from Jimi Hendrix’s guitar to Mick Jagger’s costume. All of the items are connecting the dots on the timeline and pinpoint important places, such as the mod’s paradise Carnaby Street, London clubs famous for their nightlife and counterculture, the Paris riots, the Summer of Love and Woodstock ’69, and West Coast communities trying out new dance moves to Beach Boys.
Immersive audio-visual experience
It wouldn’t be truly the Sixties if it wasn’t for the classic rock, R’n’B and pop. That’s why John Peel, a cult radio presenter, curated a playlist including Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock performance or My Generation by The Who. The exhibition is interactive: besides the signposts of the era and a soundtrack with the hits of the British psychedelia, it includes the interviews with the biggest of the era, for example the artist Yoko Ono, and the model Twiggy. The visitors will also learn about the classics important for filmmaking, such as Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“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 Victoria and Albert Museum. “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.”
Victoria and Albert Museum. Open daily 10 September 2016 – 26 February 2017 from 10.00 – 17.45 and until 22.00 every Friday. Admission £16 (concessions available), V&A Members go free. Advance booking advised; visit the V&A in person; online at vam.ac.uk/revolution; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies)