A Sip of Cool
Contemporary Art | Cool is first and foremost a cliché : wet hair, paradisiacal beaches, youth... Cool rides the wave, changing with the fashion of the day as time races forward. Yet cool is also a precise attitude whose history can be traced as far back as 3000 BCE in the Yoruba and Igbo societies of Africa, as well is in other regions of the continent. The slave trade favoured the continuation this attitude of detachment, later popularized in the by African-American jazzmen in the early 20th century.
What we can call Modern Cool
What we can call « modern cool » developed at a moment of fusion, spreading through the youth of America via a unanimously acclaimed icon : Elvis. Cool would now include the notion of style, and appearance will become fundamental in the quest for liberty from social, sexual and political norms. The nomadic detachment of the Beat generation is finally incarnated visually at Woodstock. A parallel market develops, quickly recuperated by advertising and the mainstream. Cool is marketed, every twist and turn is slowly incorporated, even if the look is perpetually changing : hippie, punk, hip-hop, grunge etc. Paradoxically, in wishing to oppose capitalist society, the adepts of cool favour its acceleration and […]
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