1960s Pop enlarged the capacity of fine art to channel deep but inchoate feelings in whole populations normally put off by the exclusivity of museums and galleries. But by the end of the decade, Pop seemed rapidly to fade, enduring as a set of fine individual careers but no longer a vital tendency still attracting young adherents—or so it might have seemed.

The success of Pop in crystallising the ambient imagery of daily life challenged young designers, musicians, and filmmakers to apply the same acuity to their own work, in the process equipping themselves to address an enlarged, better educated, and more self-aware audience among the young. No reckoning with Pop is complete if it fails to include designers on the order of Milton Glaser, Rick Griffin and Roman Cieślewicz, musicians like The Byrds, The Who, Bob Dylan and the Beatles, or directors like Jean-Luc Godard and John Schlesinger. The international counterculture kept Pop current, but in the process it surpassed, dispersed and ultimately obscured the sources.

This Power Lecture took place on 19 March 2013, as part of the Sydney Ideas program at the University of Sydney. The lecture was co-presented with the University of Sydney’s US Studies Centre.



Professor Thomas Crow is Provostial Fellow and the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York. Most recently, he served as Director of the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Previously, Professor Crow taught at the Universities of Yale, Sussex, Princeton and Michigan. He is the author of many books, including Modern Art in the Common Culture (1996), The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent (1996, 2005) and Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France (1995). His numerous journal articles include ‘The Practice of Art History in America’ in Daedalus (Spring 2006) and ‘Marx to Sharks: The Art-Historical ‘80s’ in Artforum (2003).