Contemplating nowadays  the artistic events which most closely linked the Yugoslav art scene to comparable developments in Europe, both from a conceptual and an organisational point of view, one cannot overlook some major dates in the early 1960’s. These dates (and events) hinge on two international exhibitions, held at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb under the titles of New Tendencies (1961) and New Tendencies 2 (1963).
What the New Tendencies were
This somewhat imprecise term jointly designates a series of international exhibitions staged by the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, in the following chronological order and under the following, precise tiles: New Tendencies , 1961; New Tendencies 2, 1963, New Tendency 3, 1965; Tendency 4, 1968/69; and Tendencies 5, 1973. The alterations in the titles are slight, yet noticeable enough.
In his recent text, The Year 1968 and Visual Arts, the Italian critic, Renato Barilli, said that 1968 marked one of the crucial dates in the history of contemporary art. Barilli claimed that any future consideration of art would have to refer to the situation pre-1968 or post-1968.1
The influence of a milieu on the emergence of different movements in 20th century art is a subject of endless debate. Once engaged in a discussion of the pros and cons, it does not take too long before one realises that the forms in modern and contemporary art – and that applies to the earlier periods, as well – have not occurred at random places or random moments; on the contrary, they were created by individuals who lived in concrete historical circumstances, who worked in those circumstances, and who were constructing their identity within a specific geographic, cultural and social area.