Artwork that made the Sixties swing goes on show at Sotheby's


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The Independent Culture

The art that helped 1960s London swing is going on show at a new exhibition organised by Sotheby's and one of the men who helped make the careers of some of the country's most famous artists.

John Kasmin, whose gallery opened in New Bond Street opposite the auction house 50 years ago, has helped choose the work which goes on show in the exhibition called The New Situation: Art in London in the Sixties.

He helped launch the careers of names including David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Anthony Caro whose work features in the new exhibition alongside some of their now-forgotten contemporaries.

He said: "In the 60s, optimism arose in the art world and we newer people thought we could change the prevailing British culture and make the visual rival the literary attitude. We admired daring and enthusiasm. We were enemies of 'good taste'. For us, paintings were no longer adjuncts to polite living, and sculpture went wild. No more 'over the mantelpiece' or on a plinth, the artworks challenged and exulted. We were on a several year-long 'high'."

Some of the works from the exhibition, which runs from tomorrow to Wednesday September 11, will be put up for sale.

Sotheby's Specialist in Modern and Post-War British Art Simon Hucker said: "In Britain in the 60s, we see all the major movements of the post-war period - from Pop, which in many ways we can lay a serious claim to have invented, to Op, gestural abstraction to Hard-Edge and Minimalism. It was also a time when art and what an art-object could be, was redefined, with the London art scene, deeply intertwined with music, poetry and film, leading the way in installation, performance and conceptual art."