- Twiggy, 1967, photographed by Ronald Traeger © Ronald Traeger
- A still from the 1966 film Blow Up © MGM The Global Collection
- John Sebastian performing at Woodstock, 1969 © Henry Diltz/Corbis
- Anti-Vietnam demonstrators at the Pentagon, 1967, photographed by Bernie Boston/The Washington Post via Getty Images
- The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, “Revolution,” 1968, by Alan Aldridge © Iconic Images, Alan Aldridge
- The Souper Dress, 1966 © Kerry Taylor Auctions
As the title announces, the exhibition zeroes in on just five short years, from 1966 to 1970 — but, oh, what a half-decade. It was a sea change in lifestyle, politics, technology and more, resulting in a counter-culture mash-up that is exposed and explored in this fantastically exhaustive exhibit. The backward glance begins with the Carnaby Street scene and the birth of what Time Magazine declared “The Swinging City” on the cover of its April 15, 1966 issue — Twiggy! Mary Quant! Granny Takes a Trip! The show then expands beyond that groovy spotlight to touch upon the Sixties impact across a range of not just disciplines but countries. Among the eclectic goods on display: Op Art works by Bridget Riley, outfits worn on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a moon rock on loan from NASA, Jane Fonda’s Barbarella costume, a prototype of the first computer mouse, a Pan Am stewardess’s uniform and a shopping list written behind barricades during the 1968 Paris student riots. Plus, there’s a Woodstock experience — complete with surround sound — as well as a recreation of Vidal Sassoon’s original salon.
You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970 is ambitious in breadth and scale, with over 350 objects featured. And though it can be a dizzying sensory overload at times — where Dusty Springfield (or, rather, the dress she wears on Dusty… Definitely) meets Che Guevara and Mao Zedong (or their propaganda posters) — that headiness speaks to the era’s game-changing upheaval and potent revolt of the status quo. It may be a lot to digest now, but then it was then too.
As for the exhibit’s name, that takes its cue from the 1968 song “Revolution” by The Beatles. “You say you want a revolution,” it goes. “Well, you know, we all want to change the world…”
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