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The Age of Anxiety

             America entered the 1960s as a strong and secure nation, despite the troubles of the Cold War. America's culture and morality were exclusive in the world. America had an honorable future, vast prosperity, and although it had some internal problems, including inequality and racism, they could eventually be resolved by the right laws and right men writing the laws. There was now a new boundary on which a great society would be raised. .
             After the assassination of Kennedy in 1963, this perfect world began to unravel and was torn apart by the foreign policy his presidency had set up. America's troubles were found in the tiny country of Vietnam. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and their advisers had convinced themselves that Vietnam was being taken over by China, in one of the most tragic foreign policy mistakes in history America went to war to support the satellite regime in Saignon. By 1968, Vietnam was a national obsession. .
             The annus horribilis was 1968, this was the year in which hope for a civil society seemed impossible. These were the days of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the bloody police action against demonstrators in Chicago at the Democratic Convention, and the riots of blacks in burning ghettos across America. Americans feared that there was worse to come. The acts of American crisis in the 60s and 70s left its imprint all over the culture, in writing, film, and theater. But if you were to look at the paintings and sculpture of the time there was very little sign of it. In the 1970s America had a great deal of activist art, mostly just second-rate. Also in 1970, Robert Morris closed down his show at the Whitney Museum in protest against the bombing of Cambodia, and other, insignificant artists threatened art strikes. Pop Art, surprisingly, didn't have much political content either during this time and most color field painting totally excluded all social reference of any kind from its work.

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