The End of the World: Contemporary Visions of the Apocalypse
“The invention of the atomic bomb, the devastating power of which was made all too horrifyingly clear at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has kindled a contemporary awareness of a potential Armageddon. Both the approach of the second millennium and the year 1984, the symbol of a sterile Orwellian world immortalized in the futuristic novel, have added fuel to a growing malaise and anxiety. What are the effects of this apocalyptic awareness on society generally and on culture and the arts specifically? What is the function of art in an atomic age and is it possible to make meaningful comments in an age of ‘trendy despair’?”
Lynn Gumpert, The End of the World catalogue.
“This exhibition investigated the enormous impact that the possibility of total global destruction has had on contemporary art. The presentation explored the role of artists as visionaries, their work as social commentary, and such issues as the human potential for creativity and destruction. Twenty-four artist addressed the theme of cataclysm in painting, sculpture, photography, videotapes, and installation pieces…”
-From The New Museum Annual Report, 1981-1984