Further Biographical Context for James Cobb
Born in 1946, James Cobb was largely influenced by the 1960s. The universal impact of the 1960s was truly astonishing across the globe. Representative of a time stirring both hope and anger, the 1960s triggered an explosion of cutting-edge ideologies and movements, truly exciting and spectacular. Historically set in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly influential impact globally, mainly defined by the Iron Curtain separating Europe both physically and spiritually, and drastically marked by the erection 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 significant escalation of mass consumerism also defined the era, engendering new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism established the central idea that art should subsist in its own reality, and not try to represent the real world. Born of a desire to obliterate all pre-established conceptions about art, Minimalism became a radically progressive movement, highly influential worldwide, with artists such as Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin as key figures. Minimalism became significant through the works of artists such as Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, while Pop art was a fundamental by-product of the latter, at the same time critiquing and glorifying popular culture. The iconic contemporary art movements that reverberated through the wave of radicalism of the 1960s also had their own nuances and scopes, particular to different regions or countries. Spatialism, for example, was founded in Italy by Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, and its ideologies embraced by the Zero group in Germany. Throughout Europe, the ideologies of Existentialism strongly influenced artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who sought to portray the raw human emotions often connected to reflections on death and the lingering anxiety of the meaninglessness of life.