Art Term

Pluralism

In an art context, pluralism refers to the late 1960s and 1970s when art, politics and culture merged as artists began to believe in a more socially and politically responsive form of art

Cildo Meireles, ‘Eureka/Blindhotland’ 1970–5
Cildo Meireles
Eureka/Blindhotland 1970–5
Tate
© Cildo Meireles
Hans Haacke, ‘A Breed Apart’ 1978
Hans Haacke
A Breed Apart 1978
Tate
© Hans Haacke/VG Bild-Kunst
Eva Hesse, ‘Tomorrow’s Apples (5 in White)’ 1965
Eva Hesse
Tomorrow’s Apples (5 in White) 1965
Tate
© The estate of Eva Hesse, courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zürich

The term pluralism in a general context refers to a social structure in which many small groups maintain their unique cultural identity within a broader culture.

The art historian Rosalind Krauss characterised the art of the late 1960s and 1970s period as:

Diversified, split and factionalised. Unlike the art of the last several decades, its energy does not seem to flow through a single channel for which a synthetic term, like abstract expressionism, or minimalism, might be found. In defiance of the notion of collective effort that operates behind the very idea of an artistic ‘movement’, 70s art is proud of its own dispersal.