Fields of Change: 1960s Vermont
June 29 through November 3
Bennington Museum’s major exhibition for 2019, Fields of Change: 1960s Vermont explores a complex time that in many ways has come to define Vermont as it is today more than any other historic moment. The 1960s were a decade filled with turmoil and revolutionary change in America, and Vermont was no different. This was a period of dramatic, paradigmatic shifts in the social, political, and cultural identity of the Green Mountains: the construction of an interstate highway system brought flatlanders into Vermont in droves; the state’s politics shifted from a 100+ year Republican reign to a more balanced alternating between Republican and Democratic representation, and an attendant openness to progressive ideologies began to took root; a group of artists in and around Bennington College led the country in their exploration of the possibilities of color-based abstraction (see Color Fields: 1960s Bennington Modernism exhibition); and the counterculture movement, including civil rights and anti-war protests, attempts at educational reform, and an influx of back-to-the-landers, with their emphasis on a direct, respectful relationship to the land, shifted the cultural landscape of the state forever. The exhibition explores these ideas, and the relationship, sometimes tense and sometimes quite friendly, between traditional Vermonters and the progressive new arrivals, through photographs, archival documents, works of art, posters, fashion, hand-made craft objects, and more.