Emerson Gallery

History of Exhibitions


1968: You Say You Want a Revolution

December 5, 2003 - February 15, 2004

This exhibition focused on a year that was the epicenter of a decade's major culture-altering political and social events. The show, curated by 14 student participants in a seminar on the era's cultural consequences, includes hundreds of artifacts including posters, paintings, music, audio and videao tracks, furniture, cartoons, clothing, books, newspapers, buttons, magazines, toys and other representative cultural icons of the era.

Items for the show were gathered from the Emerson Gallery collection as well as from the Strong Museum (Rochester), the Memorial Art Gallery (Rochester), and Colgate University's Packer Art Gallery. Hamilton alunmi, staff, faculty, and students also contributed many artifacts from long-forgotten attics and garage caches.

Through a comprehensive and contextualized look at 1968, the students sought to illustrate how the cultural revolution of the '60s was created and how international developments reflected back on it. They reviewed the whole era, collecting pieces representative of major events and issues such as the civil rights movements, Vietnam, student activism, the sexual revolution, and feminist and gay rights. Some of the exhibition's unique items included:

  • North Vietnamese toy that squeaks when the N. Vietnamese soldier's foot steps on the U.S. soldier's head
  • Warhol superstar Ultra Violet's burned bra
  • "Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came" poster
  • Haight Ashbury Tribune and campus newspapers
  • Political cartoons from the U.S., China, and the Soviet Union
  • Armed forces memorabilia including a Green Beret, consientious objector papers, POW bracelet, draft letter
  • Paper dresses
  • An original copy of Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book"
  • Sears Roebuck and Whole Earth catalogs

Music and video footage, shown on vintage rero-fitted sets, were played on a continuous loop. Viewers sat on '60s furniture to watch and listen.