Holland Cotter, the Times’s latest Pulitzer-prize winning critic, tackles the Pictures Generation show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
They were born in the mid-1940s to early ’50s, in a prosperous but paranoia-prone cold war era. They were the first kids to be raised with television, fast food and disposable everything. As teenagers they were soaked in Pop Art, rock and rebel politics. As art students, even in traditionalist programs, they felt the effects of Conceptualism. Ideas replaced objects and images. Painting was pushed to the side. The movement questioned what art was for and redefined what could be art. [ . . . ]
The show is a winner. It tackles a subject — an innovative and influential body of art produced between two major American economic booms — that has been begging for museum attention. It does so at a time when the work in question has particular pertinence to what’s being made today. And it gives the subject something like classic old master treatment (decent space, big catalog) at probably a fraction of old master cost.
As for the art itself — painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, installation, prints and books by 30 artists, most of them still active and caught young here — it looks terrific. Some of it has become famous. But a lot of it hasn’t been seen since it was made in the post-Vietnam 1970s.
At the Met, Baby Boomers Leap On Stage (The New York Times)