When the phrase “San Francisco rock posters” is uttered in certain circles, most people picture bold blocks of psychedelicized Art Nouveau lettering, a skeleton crowned by a garland of roses, shimmering collisions of equiluminant colors, and a flying eyeball peering through a burning ring of fire.
That describes the most iconic work of the so-called Big Five poster artists—Wes Wilson, Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, and Rick Griffin.
But as good as those artists were (in the case of the late Griffin and Kelley) and are (in the case of the rest), it took more than just five artists to create all the posters and handbills required to publicize all the concerts produced during these years.
In addition, if it weren’t for the career pressmen at companies such as Bindweed Press, Cal Litho, West Coast Litho, and Tea Lautrec Litho, the drug-fueled dreams of some of these artists might never have seen the light of day.
“One of the best pressmen in the business was Levon Mosgofian, who owned and operated Tea Lautrec Litho.”
Recently, I was invited to curate an exhibition of San Francisco Bay Area rock posters at the San Francisco International Airport, whose SFO Museum produces more than 50 shows a year across 25 exhibition spaces for the 44 million travelers who pass through the airport annually.
My qualifications for this incredible honor are essentially a love of rock posters since I was a kid, membership on the board of The Rock Poster Society as an adult, and a collection of maybe 400 pieces, which is paltry compared to the holdings of most of the collectors who supplied posters to the show.
Thanks to their generosity, I was able to organize “When Art Rocked: San Francisco Music Posters, 1966-1971,” which features about 160 posters, along with another 100 or so postcards, handbills, tickets, and other scraps of ephemera from the era.
A smaller companion exhibit of 1960s fashion and design, curated by SFO’s Nicole Mullen, is located conveniently nearby.
Photo Of The Day is “Yosemite Falls” by Eric Grimm.
Location: Yosemite National Park, California United States.
Photo of the Day is chosen from various Outfoor Photographer galleries, including Assignments and Galleries.
Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the Outdoor Photographer website homepage.
The phrase was popularized after Life magazine published the painting Marines Call It That 2,000 Yard Stare by World War II artist and correspondent Tom Lea, although the painting was not referred to with that title in the 1945 magazine article.
The painting, a 1944 portrait of a Marine at the Battle of Peleliu, is now held by the United States Army Center of Military History in Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
About the real-life Marine who was his subject, Lea said:
He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day.
Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded. He will return to attack this morning. How much can a human being endure?
Photo Of The Day is “Lake Tahoe Summer Sunrise” by David Shield.
Location: Lake Tahoe, California.
“Not so long ago, this beach, located on the West shore of Lake Tahoe, was completely submerged,” explains Shield.
“Now exposed, this area is capable of producing a profusion of lupine wildflowers, typically found on display in early July.
Discovering that this particular summer had produced a striking display, I set out early in the morning, during a brief thunderstorm, to capture a few images. By the time I arrived, the storm had cleared, and left behind a pretty sunrise sky.”
See more of David Shield’s photography at http://www.davidshieldphotography.com.