Elementary school. Cabbage Patch Dolls. My Little Pony. Maybe throw in a few of the popular cartoons of the era, and that sums up my experience of the 1980’s. Art and politics weren’t my main concern at the time.
A few years and a bit of perspective later, I stepped into the newest exhibit at the Walker Art Center this past weekend to discover a version of the 1980’s that I missed completely. This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s is a fascinating look at the gender, politics, and identity in an era that seemed full of change and contradiction. Parts of the exhibit made me feel like so much had changed, and other parts made me feel like nothing really had.
I walked out of the exhibit thinking of my daughter. Her world is cartoons and toys now (hopefully more than that, but you know…), but there is a larger world out there that is making history while she plays. In twenty years, what will be in the exhibit that takes on now? I left the exhibit looking around my present with a better idea of where we have been.
You can see a web gallery of some of the highlights here, but I recommend seeing it in person, especially for those who, like me, lived through the ’80s under the rock of childhood. It is in Minneapolis through September before it leaves for Boston. Perhaps this Saturday (July 14th), you might stop by the Walker’s Open Field with a book for the Field of Reads community “reading room,” and explore the This Will Have Been while you’re there.
You can also check out a few snapshots from my family’s visit to the museum on my photo blog.
Disclosure: My family has a membership to the Walker Art Center that we received as a gift from my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad! We are not affiliated with the Walker. We just appreciate it. :)