Funk Art

The 1960’s saw the children of the baby boom growing up and wanting a new period of art and fashion which was modern and experimental. This period became known as Funk Art. This new freedom in expression came as a reaction from Abstract Expressionism, as artists grew tired of playing with abstract forms and wanted to paint subject matter again.

The term ‘funky’ was originally a musical jazz term. Jazz has always been seen as a an unrefined and expressive musical term, which suits the period of art as artists such as Peter Selz who founded the movement characterised the movement by portraying everyday objects with frequently inappropriate humour. Works such as ‘The Rose’ by Jay De Foe are linked more to nature than culture and can be linked to the works of artists in the Dada period as both periods use everyday objects and have a sense of freedom.

Formed in California in the late 1950’s, the movement was most popular in the 1960’s where it spread across American and Europe, however it did last into the 1970’s. This period of time signified a remarkable change in society, especially in the outspoken attitudes of the young teenagers, sparking what we call the ‘swinging sixties.’ With this new outlook on the modern day, fashion as well as art adapted and transformed.

The new freedom formed within Funk Art inspired new breakthroughs in fashion. With the death of Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent came to the Dior throne and created a new line of fashion, saving Paris fashion. Other key designers of the day include Mary Quant and Paco Rabanne who re-engineered the silhouette of the sixties, with Quant’s ‘Ginger Group’ mini skirt and Rabanne’s flesh coloured body-stockings. Political changes were also linked with the new Fashion front, with Jacqueline Kennedy as first lady, her style became iconic across the globe setting a trend for clothes with clean, uncluttered lines in pure colours, and her love of French fashion gave a huge boost to the business. The supermodel was also born in women such as Twiggy who epitomized the boycott doll look of the decade, abolishing the 1950’s look of poise and glamour, significantly the look was formed by Vidal Sasoon’s ‘pageboy’ haircut. 

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Written by Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones, studying Literature at Portsmouth University, with a passion for all things art and fashion, writer/reader/ editor/ artist/ dedicated shopper. Felicity looks after the Catwalk Yourself Art Dictionary.

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