Santa Monica Press | 192 pages | $39.95
The ’60s — if you weren’t there, we’re gonna make you remember them. Isn’t that what they say? Or maybe it’s: The ’60s — if you’ve never remembered them, then you must not have (not) been there. Or: the ’60s — forgive me if I don’t remember you, but I’m not “all there.”
At any rate, it was quite a decade, apparently, and looking through Robert Altman’s beautiful photo book The Sixties I find myself thinking, as I usually do when looking at photos of the ’60s, “Christ. . . . Free love.” Earth mamas and papas feeling groovy on the commune. The politicization of taking your clothes off was a masterstroke for which ’60s ideologues have, I feel, been given insufficient credit. Well, I’m being flippant, of course. But I’d be doing you, the gift-book buyer, a disservice if I neglected to convey the grubby, funky eroticism of Altman’s black-and-white photographs. Even the shots of those damn hippie radicals doing their endless noisy pig-confronting are redolent with a kind of libidinous health. Many of these images originally appeared in Rolling Stone, so I suppose we can excuse the appearance of RS editor and mini-mogul Jann Wenner within Altman’s pages. He’s not half as good-looking as the rest of them, though.
, Robert Altman, Jann Wenner