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West of CenterArt and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977$
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Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677252

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677252.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

How to Build A Commune: Drop City’s Influence on the Southwestern Commune Movement

How to Build A Commune: Drop City’s Influence on the Southwestern Commune Movement

(p.2) Chapter 1 How to Build A Commune: Drop City’s Influence on the Southwestern Commune Movement
West of Center

Erin Elder

University of Minnesota Press

Drop City, near Trinidad, Colorado, from 1965 to 1973, was a vibrant community experiment that invested in applying art to every aspect of daily life and that sparked a movement of commune building that came to define the American counterculture. Drop City produced a miscellany of structures, sculptures, paintings, experimental films, performances, and a type of art called “Droppings.” Built by hand with scrounged materials, Drop City was not only a place to make art, but—through a creative reinvestment in daily activities—it was a place to be art. This chapter analyzes the Droppings as a particular frame of reference that motivated the Droppers in what is called an expanded practice. It touches on various aspects of scrounging as it pertained to Dropper architecture, lifestyle, and their patchwork of ideological underpinnings. It also introduces notions of expansive building exemplified by the Droppers’ relationship to development, the network, and the American Southwest.

Keywords:   Drop City, community experiment, commune building, art movement, American counterculture, Droppings, Droppers, countercultural movement

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