80s of the imagination


If you’re like me, the peculiar selectivity of the ’80s revival has been a source of considerable perplexity and annoyance. Overlooking complex cultural touchstones like Crime Story, Kate Bush, Q: The Winged Serpent and Philip K. Dick’s VALIS trilogy in favor of Rubik’s Cube, Reaganomics and The Breakfast Club, the ordained collective memory shrouds the awkward vital perversity of the era in Day-Glo bangles and Cosby sweaters.

Similarly, the official picture of the ’80s art world is flat and cartoonish, an embarrassing bubble of self-indulgence irrevocably linked to junk bonds, cocaine and the gutting of the National Endowment for the Arts. But just as Aerial and the Futureheads have re-ignited Kate Bush’s hipness quotient and PKD is suddenly everybody’s go-to guy for the looming information apocalypse, visual artists of the ’80s — unfairly lumped in (and dismissed) with the ham-fisted neo-expressionists, anal-retentive postmodernists and not-anal-retentive-enough performance artists that populate the awesomely bad ’80s of the imagination — are being rediscovered in all their subtlety and depth.

more from the LA Weekly here.