The Arts

Courageous new approaches in the arts invigorated music, literature, design, and other fields. Pop Art looked to everyday objects to describe life. Literature analyzed troubling realities that called for social change. Fashion offered bold new styles and vivid colors, and music composers brought emerging technologies and new sounds to many genres of music.

Paper dress, 1966–1967
Everyday objects were elevated to artistic inspiration in Andy Warhol’s painting Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) and “The Souper” paper dress. (Gift of Rosemary Holz Slocum)

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, 1975
In this book artist and pop art icon Andy Warhol offered a taste of the glamour and liberal behaviors of New York’s arts community while documenting his reflections on life.

Evening dress, 1961–1970
French-born American fashion designer Oleg Cassini influenced fashion trends of the early sixties using strong colors and lavish fabrics in his elegant and modern designs. (Gift of Oleg Cassini, Inc.)

Contact sheet by Richard Avedon, 1961
These Richard Avedon photographs capture First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wearing a dress designed in collaboration with Oleg Cassini, her official White House couturier. (Gift of Richard Avedon)

“Can You Pass the Acid Test?” poster, 1960s
With this poster, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters invited other free-thinkers to explore the mind-altering effects of LSD, popularly known as acid. (Gift of Ken Kesey)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1962
After voluntarily participating in psychedelic drug testing, author Ken Kesey wrote this novel criticizing treatments used to control individuals exhibiting unconventional behaviors.

Record album, 1964
The Beatles burst onto the American scene in the early 1960s with a series of hit singles. They released their first U.S. album in 1964 just prior to their first American appearance. (Gift of Patricia A. Mink)

Ticket stub and envelope, 1964
“The British Invasion” phenomenon began with the arrival of the popular English rock band the Beatles. The group performed its first American concert at the Washington Coliseum in 1964. (Gift of Patricia A. Mink)