October 2017 - Toronto ON
Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario AGO.
Step into this temporary exhibit of classic 1960s music posters and you’ll instantly travel back to groovier times.
Titled Rise of the Rock Poster: San Francisco in the 1960s, this exhibition of 35 rock posters features some very recognizable names: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Doors and more. And almost all the posters are from 1967, a.k.a. the Summer of Love, and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. These posters, which promoted music events and artists (there were often three to five concerts happening every night in the Bay Area in the ’60s – that’s a lot of posters!), act as snapshots of the era’s style, interests, politics, fashion and youth culture.
By the late 1960s, the Bay Area was at the forefront of the hippie counterculture movement. Everything that was cool, young, rebellious and experimental came from San Francisco – especially music. In the city, concert posters emerged as a new, youth-driven art form. Their trippy colours, drug references and illegible lettering were like a secret language, declaring, “If you don’t get it, it’s because it’s not for you.” On the surface, these posters provide an intriguing archive of bands and concerts. But a closer look reveals an art form at the intersection of important trends in politics, design, fashion and youth culture, one that offers insight into the ideals, concerns and beliefs of the 1960s.