From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The demolition of the Pruitt–Igoe complex (1972) is the end of modernist architecture and modernism itself. The building of Centre Pompidou (1977) constitutes the official inauguration of postmodern architecture and postmodernism itself. Most cultural movements are heralded by architectural structures. They are evident in the streets, and are the surest way of invading the thought of mainstream culture."--Sholem Stein
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The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979.
In the Western world, the focus shifted from the social activism of the sixties to social activities for one's own pleasure, save for environmentalism, which continued in a very visible way. The seventies were characterized by the writer Tom Wolfe as the "Me Decade."
The perception of the established institutions of nuclear family, religion and trust in one's government continued to lose ground during this time. Major developments of the sexual revolution included the awareness of the impact of contraceptive pills on social-interactional relationships, and an increase in divorce rates, single parent households, and pre-marital sex. By the end of the decade the feminist movement had helped change women's working conditions. The gay rights movement became prominent, and the hippie culture, which started in the 1960s, peaked and carried on through the end of the decade. The United States' withdrawal from Vietnam and the resignation of Richard Nixon helped bring about a sense of malaise.
The United States experienced recession, but the economy of Japan prospered. The economies of many third world countries continued to make steady progress in the early 1970s because of the green revolution. They might have thrived and become stable in the way that Europe recovered after the war through the Marshall Plan; however, their economic growth was slowed by the oil crisis.
Science, media and technology
The birth of modern computing was in the 1970s, which saw the development of the world's first general microprocessor, rudimentary personal computers, pocket calculators, the first supercomputer, and consumer video games. In consumer goods, microwave ovens and Cassette tapes surged in popularity, and VHS became the dominant video format. Genetic engineering became a commercially viable technology.
Emerging social perspectives
Universities became friendlier and less authoritarian towards students. This was reflected in the corporate culture of the 1970s, where the hierarchy between supervisor and subordinates became increasingly flat. This had influence in social interaction and family relationship as well. The nuclear family rose to prominence in the first world and the role of women in nuclear families took radical shift from those of earlier generations. With the rise of nuclear family and liberal attitudes towards social structure came new perspectives to child rearing and education. The 70s saw a decline in attendance to boarding schools and a rise of local day schools. The role of the nuclear family and the parent was increasingly noticed and given new impetus. Social norms and laws were increasingly framed in favour of women.
- Jahsonic_1000#1970s, Towards_a_Balearic_playlist#1970s, 1970#Music, 1971#Music, 1972#Music, 1973#Music, 1974#Music, 1975#Music, 1976#Music, 1977#Music, 1978#Music, 1979#Music
During the early 1970s, popular music continued to be dominated by musicians who had achieved fame during the 1960s such as the Rolling Stones, The Who, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and Eric Clapton. In addition, many newcomer rock groups such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin appeared. The Beatles disbanded in 1970, but each member of the band immediately released a highly successful solo album, and Paul McCartney especially would remain extremely popular throughout the decade. Singer-songwriters such as Elton John, James Taylor and Jackson Browne also came into vogue during the early 1970s.
The 1970s saw the rapid commercialization of rock music, and by mid-decade there were a spate of bands derisively dubbed "corporate rock" due to the notion that they had been created by record labels to produce simplistic, radio-friendly songs that offered clichés rather than meaningful lyrics. Such bands included The Doobie Brothers, Styx and Kansas.
Funk, an offshoot of soul music with a greater emphasis on beats, and influences from rhythm and blues, jazz, and psychedelic rock, was also very popular. The mid-1970s also saw the rise of disco music, which dominated during the last half of the decade with bands like the Bee Gees, Chic, ABBA, Village People, Boney M, Donna Summer, KC and the Sunshine Band, and others. In response to this, rock music became increasingly hard-edged, with early metal artists like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. Minimalism also emerged, led by composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Michael Nyman. This was a break from the intellectual serial music in the tradition of Schoenberg, which lasted from the early 1900s to 1960s.
Experimental classical music influenced both art rock and progressive rock genres with bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Supertramp, Rush, Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues and Soft Machine. Hard rock and Heavy metal also emerged among British bands Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who, Black Sabbath, UFO, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Judas Priest. Australian band AC/DC also found its hard-rock origins in the early 1970s and its breakthrough in 1979's Highway to Hell, while popular American rock bands included Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd and shock rockers Alice Cooper, Blue Öyster Cult, and Kiss, and guitar-oriented Ted Nugent and Van Halen. In Europe, there was a surge of popularity in the early decade for glam rock.
- "The decade is of course an arbitrary schema itself—time doesn't just execute a neat turn toward the future every ten years. But like a lot of artificial concepts—money, say—the category does take on a reality of its own once people figure out how to put it to work. 'The '60s are over,' a slogan one only began to hear in 1972 or so, mobilized all those eager to believe that idealism had become passe, and once they were mobilized, it had. In popular music, embracing the '70s meant both an elitist withdrawal from the messy concert and counterculture scene and a profiteering pursuit of the lowest common denominator in FM radio and album rock."—Robert Christgau in Christgau's Record Guide (1981)
After a successful return to live performing in the late 60s with his TV special, Elvis Presley remained popular in Vegas and on concert tours throughout the United States until his death in 1977. His 1973 televised concert, Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite, aired in over 40 countries in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States, making it one of the most popular concert events of the decade.
The second half of the decade saw the rise of punk rock, when a spate of fresh, young rock groups playing stripped-down hard rock came to prominence at a time when most of the artists associated with the 1960s to early 1970s were in creative decline. Punk bands included The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, The Talking Heads, and more.
The highest-selling album was Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). It remained on the Billboard 200 albums chart for 741 weeks. Electronic instrumental progressive rock was particularly significant in continental Europe, allowing bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can, and Faust to circumvent the language barrier. Their synthesiser-heavy "krautrock", along with the work of Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent synthrock.
The mid-1970s saw the rise of electronic art music musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Tomita, who with Brian Eno were a significant influence of the development of new-age music. Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra helped to pioneer synthpop, with their self-titled album (in 1978) setting a template with less minimalism and with a strong emphasis on melody, and drawing from a wider range of influences than had been employed by Kraftwerk. YMO also introduced the microprocessor-based Roland MC-8 sequencer and TR-808 rhythm machine to popular music.
In the first half of the 1970s, many jazz musicians from the Miles Davis school achieved cross-over success through jazz-rock fusion with bands like Weather Report, Return to Forever, The Headhunters and The Mahavishnu Orchestra who also influenced this genre and many others. In Germany, Manfred Eicher started the ECM label, which quickly made a name for "chamber jazz". Towards the end of the decade, Jamaican reggae music, already popular in the Caribbean and Africa since the early 1970s, became very popular in the U.S. and in Europe, mostly because of reggae superstar and legend Bob Marley. The mid-1970s saw the reemergence of acoustic jazz with the return of artists like Dexter Gordon to the US music scene, who, along with a number of other artists, such as trumpet innovators like Don Ellis and Woody Shaw, who were among the last of the decade's traditionally-oriented acoustic jazz musicians to be signed to major record labels, to receive critical and widespread commercial recognition and multiple Grammy nominations.
The late 1970s also saw the beginning of hip hop music with disc jockeys like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa taking loops from funk and soul records and play them repeatedly at block parties and dance clubs. At the end of the 1970s, popular songs like "Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang gave hip hop a wider audience. Hip hop was also influenced by the song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott-Heron.
Country music also continued to increase in popularity in the 1970s. Between 1977 and 1979, it became more mainstream, particularly with the outlaw movement, led by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. The 70s also saw the rise of a country music subgenre, southern rock, led by the Allman Brothers Band.
A major event in music in the early 1970s was the deaths of popular rock stars Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, all at the age of 27. Two of popular music's most successful artists from other eras died within eight weeks of each other in 1977. Elvis Presley, the best-selling singer of all time, died on August 16, 1977. Presley's funeral was held at Graceland, on Thursday, August 18, 1977. Bing Crosby, who sold about 50 million records, died on October 14, 1977. His single, White Christmas, remains as the best selling single of all time, confirmed by the Guinness Records.
In addition to the deaths in the 1970s, breakups of bands and duos; such as the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Everly Brothers, and others; occurred over the course of the decade.
Statistically, Led Zeppelin and Elton John were the most successful musical acts of the 1970s, both having sold more than 300 million records since 1969.
In 1970s European cinema, the failure of the Prague Spring brought about nostalgic motion pictures such as István Szabó's Szerelmesfilm (1970). German New Wave and Rainer Fassbinder's existential movies characterized film-making in Germany. The movies of the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman reached a new level of expression in motion pictures like Cries and Whispers (1973).
Asian cinema of the 1970s catered to the rising middle class fantasies and struggles. In the Bollywood cinema of India, this was epitomised by the movies of Bollywood superhero Amitabh Bachchan. Another Asian touchstone beginning in the early '70s was traditional Hong Kong martial arts film which sparked a greater interest in Chinese martial arts to the West. Martial arts film reached the peak of its popularity largely in part due to its greatest icon, Bruce Lee.
Hollywood emerged from its early 1970s slump with young film-makers taking greater risks and exploring more adult subject matter in movies such as A Clockwork Orange and The Godfather. The nostalgic Love Story was a huge commercial and critical hit. The 1970s saw a rebirth of the action film with movies like The French Connection. Airport was hugely successful and launched a series of disaster-related films, such as Earthquake. Throughout the seventies, the horror film developed into a lucrative genre of film; notable examples include The Exorcist, The Omen, Halloween, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Blaxploitation also emerged as a genre. Top-grossing Jaws(1975) ushered in the blockbuster era of film-making, though it was eclipsed two years later the science-fiction epic Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977).
Fiction in the the early '70s brought a return to old-fashioned storytelling, especially with Erich Segal's Love Story. John Updike emerged as a major literary figure. Reflections of the 1960s experience also found roots in the literature of the decade through the works of Joyce Carol Oates. With the rising cost of hard-cover books and the increasing readership of "genre fiction," the paperback became a popular medium. Criminal non-fiction also became a popular topic. Irreverence and satire, typified in Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, were common literary elements. The horror genre also emerged, and by the late seventies Stephen King had become one of the most popular genre novelists.
In nonfiction, several books related to Nixon and the Watergate scandal topped the best-selling lists. 1977 brought many high-profile biographical works of literary figures, such as those of Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Books discussing sex such as Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask were popular as authors took advantage of the lifted censorship laws on literature in the sixties. Exposés such as All the President's Men were also popular. Self-help and diet books replaced the cookbooks and home fix-it manuals that topped the sixties's charts.
- Tourists by Duane Hanson
- Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson
- Hatstand, Table and Chair by Allen Jones first exhibited
- Seedbed performance piece first performed by Vito Acconci in New York.
- Five Car Stud, a work of installation art by American artist Edward Kienholz.
- Casabella. Radical Design. n° 367, Milano, 1972
- Rhythm 0 by Marina Abramovic
- Cadillac Ranch, a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, U.S.
- Jamie Reid artwork for the Sex Pistols
- Hommage a Böcklin by H. R. Giger
- Office Baroque by Gordon Matta-Clark
- Centre Pompidou
- Piazza d'Italia in New Orleans
- X Portfolio by Mapplethorpe
- Proust Armchair by Alessandro Mendini
Architecture in the 1970s began as a the continuation of styles created by such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Early in the decade, several architects competed to build the tallest building in the world. Of these buildings, the most notable are the John Hancock Center and Sears Tower in Chicago, both designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan and the World Trade Center towers in New York by Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki. The decade also brought experimentation in geometric design, pop-art, postmodernism and early deconstructivism.
In 1974, Louis Kahn's last and arguably most famous building, the National Assembly Building of Dhaka, Bangladesh was completed. The building's use of open spaces and groundbreaking geometry brought rare attention to the small southeast Asian country. Hugh Stubbins' Citicorp Center revolutionized the incorporation of solar panels in office buildings. The seventies brought further experimentation in glass and steel construction and geometric design. Chinese architect I. M. Pei's John Hancock Tower in Boston is an example, although like many buildings of the time, the experimentation was flawed and glass panes fell from the façade.
But modern architecture was increasingly criticized, both from the point of view of postmodern architects such as Philip Johnson, Charles Moore and Michael Graves who advocated a return to pre-modern styles of architecture (see Learning from Las Vegas, 1972; and The New Paradigm in Architecture, 1977) and the incorporation of pop elements as a means of communicating with a broader public. Other architects, such as Peter Eisenman of the New York Five advocated the pursuit of form for the sake of form and drew on semiotics theory for support.
High-tech architecture moved forward as Buckminster Fuller continued his experiments in geodesic domes while the George Pompidou Center, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, which opened in 1977, was a prominent example. As the decade drew to a close, Frank Gehry broke out in new direction with his own house in Santa Monica, a highly complex structure half-excavated out of an existing bungalow and half cheaply-built construction using materials such as chicken wire fencing.
Social science intersected with hard science in the works in natural language processing by Terry Winograd (1973) and the establishment of the first cognitive sciences department in the world at MIT in 1979. The fields of generative linguistics and cognitive psychology went through a renewed vigour with symbolic modeling of semantic knowledge while the final devastation of the long standing tradition of behaviorism came about through the severe criticism of B.F. Skinner's work in 1971 by the cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky.
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