Love’s Secret Domain, Contemporary Psychedelic Art
Interview by Aba Gyepi-Garbrah
with exhibition curator Seze Devres
Fashion Snoops Magazine July 2007
Psychedelic art seems to be resurfacing in art. Music, art, and literature of the sixties and early seventies were no doubt due to extreme social change among youth culture, fashion of course is no stranger to change and its social undertones.
On exhibit at The Whitney in New York City, the Summer of Love exhibit showcased an archive of printed material, album covers, literature, newspapers and artwork that documented the era. At MOMA’s P.S.1, the outdoor structures, Liquid Sky are clearly inspired by color, shape and illusion of 60’s and 70’s artwork.
As it’s happening now, psychedelic art is being reborn and moving in the direction of modernity. As art grows with the future, it seems to be a proper fit that it’s going contemporary in many aspects. In a nutshell, it comes down to how technology is becoming a larger part of art, everyday life, work and leisure, essentially lifestyle.
At 3rd Ward’s Loves Secret Domain (LSD) in Brooklyn, New York, psychedelic art is on a contemporary note. Held June 8 – 24, 2007, curators Seze Devres and Tracey Norman presented the work of 20 artists in several disciplines that produced artwork inspired by “heightened states of the mind and boundaries of the visual”. The exhibit presents stylized images with photograms, scans, animation, light installation as well as traditional mediums such as photography, painting and collage. In an interview with Seze Devres from 3rd Ward, she answers the burning questions about Contemporary Psychedelic art and the ideas, inspirations and issues that surround it.
What is your view on the psychedelic art of the sixties?
I love it; it has always been a huge influence on me and my own sense of painterly aesthetics and style. I still wear crazy sixties patterned dresses to parties and I love the graphics of the time. I feel like they will never go out of style. And in my own art I try to use the most vivid color imaginable.
But in a way my exhibition LSD is all about separating away from the whole Emilio Pucci dresses, Peter Max posters, Jimi Hendrix solos, rainbow pattern LSD trip generic associations that people have with art and psychedelics. There is a whole new culture (based on drugs, music, fashion, parties) that has developed in the past 40 years. I don’t understand why so few people are trying to define the new aesthetics of art inspired by the impressions crested by our own hallucinations and our subconscious. I think that there is a lot of fear today in admitting such things.
Do you think people that grew in those days can relate to contemporary psychedelic art now?
Well, yes, my parents and other people in their 50s and 60s loved the show. My parents were total hippies, Turkish bohemians that came to the U.S. after high school because they love the music and culture so much while they were growing up. My dad was a dj in the sixties, he played stuff like the Rolling Stones and other psychedelic Turkish rock music at parties. My mom and dad would buy imported records and blue jeans and peanut butter at an American base camp in Ankara, Turkey. They were totally excited about the American Psychedelic culture and therefore they could totally relate to my show…
Miriam Brumer, one of the artists in my show, actually lived through the psychedelic era. She definitely could connect her own drawings to the other works ideas presented in the show. Even though her work is not directly inspired by psychedelic drugs or the culture that surrounds it, she felt that her drawings fit perfectly with the themes of Love’s Secret Domain. But then again, I also think Miriam Brumer’s drawings channel Aboriginal art, botany, aquatic life and technicolor quilts.
Your exhibit was much more forward than The Whitney’s exhibit and more modern. Was that common goal of the artists in the beginning or did it kind of come together in the end?
Well the Whitney show is about work from four decades into the past, and it consists mostly of the ephemeral printed material of the era, posters and such. My show is about contemporary psychedelic pattern based, mainly abstract art, it includes photography, collage, painting, video, animation, music, and light installation art. There was no common goal among the artists, because I chose the works individually. Most of the artists in my show don’t make art about drugs or consider themselves psychedelic artists. Once they show was up, they all saw how it fits together. I really feel very connected to each artist who participated in the exhibit. In a way Love’s Secret Domain is an exhibit about very beautiful art, it is all work that I love and would like to own forever.
Why do you think there is a new interest in psychedelic art? How did the theme come about?
Well it is the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. I have always been interested in sixties culture, as it is evident in my art and personal taste in music and clothes. I knew that the Whitney show was coming up and I wanted to curate a contemporary version along the lines of the same theme. Actually, I am surprised no one else beat me to it.
Moving forward, how do you think we’ll see psychedelic art will change?
Well a lot is dependent on the sub-cultures, the intoxicants, the music and the fashion that influence the artists. Curating this show has opened up a lot of opportunities and dialogues for me.