Further Biographical Context for John Barger
Born in 1953, John Barger was largely influenced by the 1970s growing up. The art sphere of the 1970s was epitomized by a wish to grow and reinforce itself, as a reaction to the many conflicts of the previous decade. One of the most central movement of the 1970s was Conceptualism, which appeared as an offshoot of Minimalism, while the experimental, creative journey of Process art materialized by combining essential elements of Conceptualism with further reflections on art itself. The earliest ideas of environmentalism bounced from Land Art, which took art into earth itself, sculpting the land and bringing art to the outdoors. For the first time since the decline of Abstract Expressionism, Expressive figure painting slowly re-emerged and regained its prominence, particularly in Germany through the works of world renowned figures Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz. Most of the dominant artistic figures of the 1960s remained greatly influential and popular throughout the 1970s. Andy Warhol, for example, secured his status as a legendary artist, by branching out into film and magazine publishing, thus instituting a ground-breaking concept of cross-cultural activity for a visual artist of such fame. In the eastern part of the globe, Japanese and Korean artists who showed a strong interest in the European ideas of phenomenology, allied with the Mono-Ha movement, exploring and shifting the boundaries between natural and industrial materials. Using stone, glass, cotton, sponge, wood, oil and water, they intended to create life to artworks that would accentuate the ephemeral state of these various elements and their surroundings, playing with their interdependency.