Psychedelic: Rock & Roll Poster Art

 In Future Exhibitions

Psychedelic: Rock & Roll Poster Art

April 1 – June 11, 2023

The late 1960’s saw the arrival of a new counterculture in San Francisco. The hippies brought with them their own sense of style and musical taste. Two musical venues, the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium, hosted “dances” that brought new psychedelic rock music onto the scene. The Grateful DeadJefferson Airplane, and The Doors were some of the notable bands to play at these shows. To promote their concerts, the venues employed young artists and printing shops to produce advertising posters. The artists used their assignments as a chance to experiment with color and visual techniques that were intentionally designed to fool the eye and mind. Poster artists Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson were notable among others who cleverly concealed typography within their 1960’s designs. The catchiness and complexity of the flyers worked as a promotional tool for the concerts, but these posters also became desired artwork in their own right.

Many posters from the original concerts were eventually re-printed in later editions for sale, however, the posters in this show were collected directly from first run prints. Teenagers in Berkeley, California would wait for the weekly deliveries of the newest additions; posters would be stolen out of shop windows or from the nearby UC Berkeley campus as soon as they could be put up. These young collectors of the 1960s Bay Area immediately recognized the value of these prints for their immediate and long-term appeal. They are still traded and collected today as significant documents of musical history, as well as for being visual pioneers in the field of design.

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