Essay: A Farewell to the Future That Was

The '70s are gone, and where is their typical art? Nobody seems to know. Everyone still knows what the art of the '60s looked like. It looked like Claes Oldenburg's giant Mickey Mouse, like Andy Warhol's cans or Roy Lichtenstein's enlarged comic strips. Such pieces now have a period air of things meant to be consumed quickly—EAT ME! as the lettering on Alice's cake read. They constitute an art of rapid memorable icons that expected to be assimilated and exhausted in quick bursts, as indeed they were.

The art of the '70s had no...