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Must-See Exhibit

Learn how the hippie movement affected modernism at BAMPFA.


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Haus-Rucker-Co, Environment Transformer/Flyhead, 1968 // Courtesy of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

It’s high time (pun intended) to celebrate—and reexamine—the extraordinary influence of the hippie counterculture, which got its unofficial start roughly 50 years ago during San Francisco’s Summer of Love.

An intriguing new exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, does just that, prompting visitors to make unexpected connections between the radical art, architecture, and design of the counterculture.

“We don’t want this to be a simple stroll down memory lane,” says Lawrence Rinder, director of BAMPFA. “We want to show that many issues the counterculture embraced are still with us today, and much of what we call modernism has direct links to [its] ideals.”

For example, aspects of technology—not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of flower children—can be traced to hippiedom.

“Things we take for granted now, like the freedom and openness of the Internet, grew out of the value the counterculture placed on interconnectedness,” Rinder says.

Hippie Modernism features painting, photography, posters, immersive environments, experimental films, prototypical technology, and more. It is also accompanied by extensive forums, performances, community workshops, and other public programs. On view February 8–May 21, bampfa.berkeley.edu.

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