Further Biographical Context for Bill Cook
Born in 1946, Bill Cook was primarily inspired by the 1960s. The universal impact of the 1960s was truly sensational across the globe. Evocative of a time stirring both faith and anger, the 1960s prompted an outburst of new ideologies and movements, truly sensational and ground-breaking. Historically established in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly powerful impact worldwide, mainly defined by the Iron Curtain separating Europe both physically and spiritually, and significantly marked by the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The 1960s re-defined all pre-existing assumptions on gender, race and justice, questioned education as well as morality and selfhood – for instance through the civil rights movement and second wave of feminism, as well as student political uprisings. The incredible escalation of mass consumerism also defined the era, generating new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism developed the crucial idea that art should subsist in its own reality, and not try to mimic the physical world. Born of a desire to erase all pre-established notions about art, Minimalism turned into a radically progressive movement, highly influential worldwide, with artists such as Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin as key figures. Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler were artists who sought to explore further some of the most fundamental philosophies of Abstract Expressionism, while getting rid of the emotional and highly personal aspect it would often associated with it. This led to the creation of Colour Field painting, deeply relating to Minimalism. The iconic contemporary art movements that reverberated through the wave of radicalism of the 1960s also had their own nuances and scopes, distinctive to different regions or countries. Spatialism, for example, was founded in Italy by Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, and its ideologies adopted by the Zero group in Germany. Throughout Europe, the philosophy of Existentialism strongly influenced artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who strived to portray the raw human emotions often connected to reflections on death and the haunting anxiety of the meaninglessness of life.