Sunday, November 24, 2013

Art of the 1980's

Celebrating the Art of the 1980's

Music of the 80's

There is no art form that ingrains itself in the heart and soul like music, and the 80’s were featured some of the all-time great icons of pop music. Madonna pushed the limits of socially acceptable stage shows with her “Like A Virgin” album, videos and tour.

 Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” earned him the title “King of Pop,” which he retains even posthumously.

Phil Collins was not only one of the top stars as a solo artist and as the lead singer of the band Genesis, he also became one of the top movie soundtrack talents.


 Hall and Oats were the most popular band of the decade after topping the charts repeatedly in the 70’s.


Billy Joel may be best known for his Piano Man hit from the 70’s, he established himself as one of the most popular singers of all time with his 80’s hits that included “Uptown Girl,” “The Longest Time,” “Innocent Man” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

Music often becomes the voice of a generation, and for those of us who were raised in the 80’s these artists represent the soundtrack of our lives. What’s more, their enduring popularity among the following generations shows that they reached a level of artistry that spans more than just their own era.

Movies of the 80's

Just as the 1980’s brought us iconic music stars, it was also a golden age of film. New technologies and visionary directors brought us an array of films that became multi-generational hits. Steven Spielberg laid the foundation of a career that would lead to his reputation of one of Hollywood’s all-time best with films like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “E.T. The Extraterrestrial.”


George Lucas brought us the second and third films in his genre-busting “Star Wars” saga, the second of which, “The Empire Strikes Back,” is widely regarded as the best science fiction film ever made. 

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” gave the youth of America a hero, one who wasn’t afraid to buck the system in favor of the freedom of self-expression. Bueller and his friends even take in an art museum, reinforcing this film as a work of art in and of itself.

“Driving Miss Daisy” is a proven and enduring classic, both on the Broadway stage and as a film that made Morgan Freeman sought-after actor. It addressed one of our culture’s biggest issues, that of defining people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Artists of the 1980's

The 1980’s also featured some interesting and influential visual artists, and what follows are some representative samples of the work of those artists. The works themselves are probably familiar, even if the names might not all be as familiar.

Jasper Johns
Keith Haring

William de Kooning 

Andy Warhol

Roy Lichtenstein

Authors of the 1980's

As much as music, movies and the visual arts have an impact on our senses, so, too do great books. Carl Sagan’s body of work regarding space and the human journey were ground-breaking and are incredibly influential even after his death. 

In the fiction realm, no author has ever captured the darker side of human nature the way Stephen King has, while Tom Clancy and James A. Michener also gained huge and sustained success with their detailed masterpieces. The writings of all three, and particularly King, have inspired a long list of films, as well.

To call Bill Cosby an author is to unfairly minimize his contribution to society, but he had a number of bestsellers in the 80’s. He was also the star of one of the top TV shows of the decade, “The Cosby Show,” and became an important voice of social activism for African-Americans, in particular. He remains one of America’s most beloved figures.

The End


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