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  1. ssKinmont_Robert_8 Natural Handstands_B_MR.jpg

    Robert Kinmont, 8 Natural Handstands, 1969/2009 (detail)
    nine silver gelatin prints
    21.5 x 21.5 cm each Photo Joerg Lohse; Image courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York

  2. ssRosler_Martha_ First Lady_MR.jpg

    Martha Rosler, First Lady (Pat Nixon), 1967-72 photomontage from the series Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful
    Courtesy of the artist, Brooklyn, New York and Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery, New York

  3. ssAntin_100 BOOTS_Move on.jpg

    Eleanor Antin, 100 Boots, 1971-73 (detail)
    50 black-and-white postcards, 11.1 x 17.8 cm each
    Image courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York

  4. ssICI_logo_large_inverted.jpg

  5. ssRobertReddLogo.jpg

  6. ssVDB_Logo_Medium.jpg

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State of Mind

New California Art Circa 1970

September 28 - December 9, 2012

Reception: Thursday, September 27, 8 to 10 pm

Visit us again for more information on talks and programs

[+] Curators’ Talk with Constance Lewallen and Karen Moss

[+] Lecture by Julia Bryan-Wilson at the Belkin

[+] Reading/Performance by Eleanor Antin at the Belkin

[+] Belkin 101

[+] Concert at the Belkin

[+] Film Series November 7 – 22, 2012

State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970 investigates Conceptual art and related avant-garde activities from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. The artists who came to California at this time were, like many other transplants, attracted by its beauty, climate and relative ease of living. More importantly, this part of the US was emerging as a leading incubator for social change and a youth-oriented counterculture, tendencies that were complementary to artists seeking alternatives to traditional modes of art making. California’s art schools, universities and artist-run spaces provided new exhibition opportunities and, additionally, the distance from the New York art press, commercial galleries and museums gave artists greater freedom to experiment as they challenged the definition of art, the role of the artist and the academic and institutional structures of the art world. New York represented tradition, California the future.

Artists working in California at this time deemphasized the art object in favour of the idea and process that went into its making. They explored new noncommercial genres: text-based works, video, sound, performance, installations, mail art and artists’ books. No longer bound by practical considerations of scale, materials, or salability, they turned to collectivity, ephemerality, body-oriented performance, the merging of art and life, political commentary and social interaction which have continued to influence generations of younger artists for more than forty years.

Organized around central themes such as mapping the environment, the street, feminism, and the body, the exhibition features approximately 150 works by 60 artists, ranging from those who became major international figures—Ant Farm, John Baldessari, Chris Burden, Lynn Hershman, Bruce Nauman, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha—to lesser-known artists who nonetheless made important contributions and merit renewed attention. The exhibition consists of video, film, photography, installation, artist’s books, drawing, and paintings. Additionally, there is extensive performance documentation and ephemera.

State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970 complements the upcoming exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980, an ambitious project that examines similar sensibilities as they developed in Canada. In addition, several of the artists in State of Mind visited Vancouver at the time, mostly at the invitation of Image Bank and the Western Front.

State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970 is an exhibition curated by Constance Lewallen and Karen Moss and co-organized by the Orange County Museum of Art and the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. The tour is organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and is made possible in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Video Data Bank, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and with the generous support of Robert Redd, LLC and the ICI Board of Trustees.

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and our Belkin Curator’s Forum members.


The following comments have been entered at a kiosk available to visitors to the gallery. Only the 10 most recent comments are shown, see more on the comments page.

thomevil at 3:44 pm Sunday, December 9, 2012

thank you so much for the Fat City MFA prints. thank you so much more for using nice paper.

gnome-panel from No response at 3:28 pm Sunday, December 9, 2012

gnome-panel No response to the SaveYourself command. The program may be slow, stopped or broken. You may wait for it to respond or remove it.

Michael from Vancouver, BC at 3:31 pm Saturday, December 8, 2012

Walking through the gallery spaces, I was excited and fascinated by the works in the exhibition. The conceptual artists had their own particular views on the world at the time and conveyed them through their brilliant pieces. I particularly enjoyed the work of Bas Jan Ader, Chris Burden, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Barbara T Smith, Martha Rosler and others.

bill at 12:46 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2012


R. Mutt at 12:16 pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

some complementary acid would enhance the experience

N Segovia from Vancouver BC at 11:28 am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I had heard about all these pieces in class and was dulled by the experiences you have with them via text and computer, but interacting with the face to face is exciting. There's nothing like an exhibition that gives you music, film and photography.

pb from Washington State at 11:18 am Friday, November 23, 2012

Very well done. For some reason (I say with surprise), I was really drawn in to each piece. It hugely improved my understanding and appreciation of this conceptual art. I found meaning, which in other settings had escaped me.

JD from Burnaby at 4:46 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I just wanted to thank you for giving my students a tour of the show last week. It was a unique and thought provoking exhibition, but it was your ability to make the work relevant to the students' practice that made it more meaningful.

Sandy from Anchorage, AK at 2:30 pm Saturday, November 17, 2012

I spent my high school years in California, from 1970 to 1974. This exhibit brought back a lot of memories from that time. I really enjoyed the yellow taxis, and A Trophy Atrophy.

darthphaidra at 4:09 pm Friday, November 16, 2012

tHIS Is <backspace?> my new favourite exhibit, which I must come back to, again and again. I liked it so much I still have hiccups. Feels like home for a Vancouver hipstyer (born n raised)

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689