Rock Posters from the Andrew and Victoria Olson Collection
June 21, 2011 – January 15, 2012
Opening Reception: Free and open to the public: Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
“The drama is changing. What people are interested in is not things but states of mind. That is the cultural shift that is taking place within this visionary subculture.”
-Poet Gary Snyder, 1967, in “Dayglo Koans and Spiritual Renewal,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Summer 2004
The 1960s were the pivotal decade of 20th century America. Generations teetered between the optimism of post-world war economic growth and a restless search for new ways to envision themselves and the future. As parents and grandparents clung to the manufactured security of suburban life, their children went on the road in search of new spiritual frontiers. Music, fashion, and visual art and design were recreated by this roving counterculture. Within a decade, their lifestyle was marketed globally to even younger consumers. Today, nostalgia for that recent past inspires collections and exhibitions like the one you see here.
Psychedelic Signatures features thirty posters from the collection of Andrew and Victoria Olson. Their willingness to share them through this exhibition gives cause to celebrate the unique visual style of the psychedelic era.
Many artists participated in the creation of images we identify with the 1960s, but posters promoting concerts survive as primary visual touchstones of the era. Between 1966 and 1972, a dozen artists created over 350 posters. Books like The Art of the Fillmore and websites like www.wolfgangsvault.com document, explain and organize them for fans, collectors and the curious public.
Posters by Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Bonnie MacLean, Stanley “Mouse” Miller, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson are featured in this exhibition. Like so many of their generation, these artists migrated to the west coast, where critical masses gathered around musical performances. Organized by Bill Graham of the Fillmore Auditorium and Chet Helms and the Family Dog for the Avalon Ballroom, the concerts shaped the sound and experience of early rock music. Participatory gatherings featured elaborate visual shows that followed the musical pulse. As light-shows were projected around and over them, people left their seats and danced to bands like Country Joe and the Fish, Wildflower, Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Doors.
“The posters looked like what we were playing. They…didn’t just announce the concerts, they resonated with the styles of the times and described visually what the Grateful Dead, Big Brother, Quicksilver [Messenger Service] and the [Jefferson] Airplane were doing at the Fillmore and the Avalon the following nights.”
- Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead drummer, foreword to Stanley Mouse, Freehand: The Art of Stanley Mouse (Berkeley: SLG Books, 1993), p. 7.
Free and open to the public, the Tweed Museum of Art is located in Ordean Court on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth.
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For more information about the Tweed Museum of Art and its programs, 218-726-8222 or visit http://www.d.umn.edu/tma.
The Tweed Museum of Art is one of six units in the School of Fine Arts, UMD. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Tom Wilkes, Montery Pop Festival
Lee Conklin, Creedence Clearwater Revival/Steppenwolf, 1968
Wes Wilson, Otis Redding, 1968