"Are You Experienced?: How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art" is a new book by New York Times art critic Ken Johnson in which he traces the history of trippy art over the last 50 years, featuring work from R. Crumb and Jeff Koons (above right) to Joe Brainard (above left) and Marry Beth Edelson. I have always agreed with Johnson's premise, discussed in a CNN interview, that the best art bumps you into a new reality tunnel. From CNN:
Can you elaborate on some features or elements of what you describe of as being "conceptually psychedelic?""Are You Experienced?: How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art" by Ken Johnson (Amazon)
Johnson: I think the main thing is the idea that in psychedelic experience, people start thinking about their own perceptions. They don't take their perceptions for granted, but they start thinking about how our perceptions work and how interesting it is the way we think about the world, so we think about our thinking.
CNN: Are you suggesting that you have to be stoned or high to create art or appreciate modern art?
Johnson: No, I don't think being high or stoned makes anybody more creative. If it did, there would be a lot of stoners out there making great art... I don't think you have to be high to look at it.
I think what it does do, I think any work of art encourages you to imagine your way into a state of consciousness that may not be your normal state, so you kind of suspend disbelief and allow yourself to be imaginatively seduced into a different way of relating to the world so that you study things more carefully, you think about how things are affecting you.