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Adam Lerner and Elissa Auther
West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977

Saturday, January 21, 2012, 4:00 pm
Alexander Gray Associates
508 West 26 Street #215
New York NY 10001

Space is limited: rsvp@alexandergray.com

Join Alexander Gray Associates for a presentation and book signing with Adam Lerner and Elissa Auther to celebrate the publication of West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977. 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. Often created through radically collaborative artistic practices, such works as Paolo Soleri’s earth homes, the hand-built architecture of the Drop City and Libre communes, Yolanda López’s political posters, the multisensory movement workshops of Anna and Lawrence Halprin, and the immersive light shows and video-based work by the Ant Farm and Optic Nerve collectives were intended to generate new life patterns that pointed toward social and political emancipation.

In West of Center, Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner bring together a prominent group of scholars to elaborate the historical and artistic significance of these counterculture projects within the broader narrative of postwar American art, which skews heavily toward New York’s avant-garde art scene. This west of center countercultural movement has typically been associated with psychedelic art, but the contributors to this book understand this as only one dimension of the larger, artistically oriented, socially based phenomenon. At the same time, they reveal the disciplinary, geographic, and theoretical biases and assumptions that have led to the dismissal of countercultural practices in the history of art and visual culture, and they detail how this form of cultural and political activity found its place in the West.

A companion to an exhibition originating at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, this book illuminates how, in the western United States, the counterculture’s unique integration of art practices, political action, and collaborative life activities serves as a linchpin connecting postwar and contemporary artistic endeavors.

Adam Lerner is the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Elissa Lerner is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.


Alexander Gray Associates is a contemporary art gallery based in New York. The gallery has established a profile for high-quality exhibitions focused on mid- career artists who emerged in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Influential in political, social and cultural spheres, these artists are notable for creating work that crosses geographic borders, generational contexts and artistic disciplines.

Alexander Gray Associates
508 West 26 Street #215, New York NY 10001
Telephone: 212 399 2636 Fax: 212 399 2684
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
www.alexandergray.com

Current Exhibition
Hassan Sharif: January 5 - February 11, 2012

Upcoming Event
Artist Talk: Hassan Sharif: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 6:00 pm

Upcoming Exhibitions
Coco Fusco: February 22 - March 31, 2012
Lorraine O'Grady: April 11 - May 19, 2012

Upcoming Art Fairs
Art Dubai 2012: March 21 - 24, 2012
Frieze New York 2012: May 4 - 7, 2012
Art 43 Basel 2012: June 14 - 17, 2012