Michael Maccarthy

1940

Artist biography

Michael Maccarthy was an artist. Michael Maccarthy was born in 1940. Artists born in the same year and of the same generation are Bai Hai, John Connell, Gert Dumbar, Carlos Bracher, and Marina Apollonio.

Further Biographical Context for Michael Maccarthy

Michael Maccarthy was born in 1940 and was largely inspired creatively 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 triggered an outburst of new philosophies and movements, truly sensational and ground-breaking. Historically established 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 significantly marked by the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The 1960s re-defined all pre-existing expectations 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, generating new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism established the crucial idea that art should subsist in its own reality, and not try to mimic the real 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 actors. Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler were artists who sought to explore further some of the most fundamental ideologies of Abstract Expressionism, while eliminating the expressive and highly personal aspect it would usually entail with it. This led to the creation of Colour Field painting, deeply identifying with Minimalism. The iconic contemporary art movements that echoed through the wave of radicalism of the 1960s also had their own distinctions and scopes, distinctive to different areas 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. Across Europe, the philosophy of Existentialism strongly influenced artists such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who sought to portray the raw human emotions often connected to reflections on death and the haunting anxiety of the meaninglessness of life.

Michael Maccarthy

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