With the exhibition Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present, opening tomorrow at the museum, I thought now would be a great time to acquaint our readers with the museum’s vintage collection of psychedelic posters. I started documenting these posters a few years ago after I noticed a wooden box high up on a shelf in the museum’s Works on Paper storage area. In this box I found close to three hundred stunning posters.
I thought it was interesting that these were part of our collection so I did some research. I found that they had been brought into the museum by the museum’s then print curator, Jo Miller. At the time they were purchased, in 1972, these posters were relatively unknown outside of San Francisco, although there had been an exhibition of Fillmore posters at the Museum of Modern Art around this same time. Since their purchase, almost forty years ago, these posters have never been shown at the Brooklyn Museum. You can view a few here and a larger selection on the Museum’s contemporary collections pages.
Between 1966 and 1971 posters were being produced as publicity for dance concerts, or dance parties, at venues such as the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore West in San Francisco. These concerts featured loud, live bands, colorful light shows, often poetry readings or performance art, and were mostly fueled by LSD or acid. These unique events were part of what became known as the psychedelic experience.
Organized respectively by Chet Helms and Bill Graham, major promoters on the West Coast art and music scene in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, these concerts helped introduce performers that would go on to become legendary Rock Stars, such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath, to name a few. Amazingly, on these same concert bills were Rhythm and Blues greats such as Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding, and veteran Jazz and Blues musicians including Miles Davis and Albert King! Please stop by next week for more on these posters and the artists that created them.
Marguerite Vigliante is currently the Coordinator for Contemporary Art, Photography and the Works on Paper Study Room and has worked at the museum since 1994. Before coming here, she worked at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC. She received a BFA from Hunter College in sculpture and printmaking. She is also a drummer and percussionist, who has performed both in the states and abroad, and has tried her hand at acting off-off Broadway with the Neurotic Theatrical Company. She also donates her time to various cultural organizations. Marguerite has enjoyed working on many exhibitions while at the Museum, including: I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe (2004), Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky (2005), William Wegman: Funney/Strange (2006), Looking Back from Ground Zero (2006), Annie Liebowitz (2006) Walton Ford, Tigers of Wrath (2006), Goodbye, Coney Island? (2007), and 21: Selections of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum (2008).