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April 29 September 18, 2005
(above: Gerald Scarfe, Pink Floyd, The Wall, Offset lithograph, 48 x 33 inches, ©1979 Pink Floyd Music Ltd. Gift of Mark del Costello
Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
The sights and sounds of the '60s and '70s are coming to Johnstown this summer, with the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Johnstown's latest exhibition, Rock On!, continuing through September 18, 2005. The exhibition features more than 40 rock posters culled from the Museum's Mark del Costello Collection of 426 offset lithographs and other paper ephemera. Posters of musicians such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Elvis, KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Elton John, Santana, Bob Dylan, the Moody Blues, Janis Joplin, the Sex Pistols and Genesis will be on view. (left: Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Big Brother & the Holding Company, and Electric Train at Avalon Ballroom, October 7-8, 1966. Girl with Green Hair, 1966, Offset lithograph, 20 x 14 inches, ©1966, 1967, 1968 Family Dog Productions. Gift of Mark del Costello. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
The exhibition is a little bit punk, a little bit psychedelic, and a whole lot rock and roll. From Hall of Fame punkers The Clash to quintessential avant-garde musicians Pink Floyd, the exhibition includes some of the finest examples of poster art ever to grace concert halls or bedroom walls. Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Peter Max, Milton Glaser, Victor Moscoso and Tadanori Yokoo are just a few of the vibrant and cutting-edge artists represented in the exhibition. Rock On! has previously been on view at SAMA's Loretto and Altoona museums, as well as the Erie Art Museum and the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown.
"These posters represented a unique marriage between what the graphic artists were doing and what these music groups and individuals were working toward," said Dr. Graziella Marchicelli, SAMA Fine Arts Curator. "Often what ties them together is rebellion against establishment, or simply artists looking for their own voice. Many of the better known artists within the collection were actually looking back at the graphic arts and other art forms of the past and sort of re-inventing it by giving it a fresh new outlook."
One influential and world-famous work in the exhibition is Milton Glaser's famous image of folk singer Bob Dylan. In the poster Dylan (1966), the folk rock legend is shown in black silhouette with brightly colored hair, in patterns inspired by Islamic designs. The image became a graphic arts icon for a generation. The posters of the 60s and 70s brought together fine art, music and commerce. (right: Milton Glaser, Dylan, Offset lithograph, 33 x 22 inches, ©1966 Milton Glaser. Gift of Mark del Costello. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
"The music posters from our Permanent Collection are visually thrilling and, for many of us, nostalgic of a time past," said Marchicelli. "Yet, even today, their sophistication and beauty speaks to a brand new audience, and their artistic and cultural importance is priceless."
Rock music's most distinctive and enduring images were created by young graphic artists residing in the San Francisco Bay area during the counterculture movement of the mid '60s. San Francisco's thriving music scene was propelled in large part by two clubs, Fillmore Auditorium and the Avalon Ballroom. Both clubs booked local bands, like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, and held concerts nearly every night. Local artists were commissioned to create concert posters. Among the graphic artists creating music posters, the most notable were Mouse, Kelley, Moscoso, Rick Griffin and Wes Wilson. Their works are stylistically diverse and inspired by a wide range of art movements: Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Viennese Secessionism and Surrealism, among others. They also were influenced by 19th century Victorian advertising motifs. More importantly, their posters epitomized the Bay area's spirit by incorporating contemporary countercultural imagery: LSD trips, long hair, bright and colorful clothing, joints, and patterns of colors displayed in light shows. The artists attempted to capture the aural and visual experience of "acid test parties" and concerts. Moscoso said, "I would just turn the color up as high as I could so I would blind you."
By the turn 1970s, the psychedelic scene had given way to a new wave of rock and roll. Pop music splintered into a multitude of styles: soft rock, hard rock, country rock, folk rock, disco, punk, heavy metal and shock rock. Likewise, the music posters of the '70s sported an array of influences and styles. Tadanori Yokoo's poster art, which included album covers such as Santana's Amigos (1976), won him international recognition. Yokoo's posters exude a vibrant kinetic energy with fluorescent colors and montages of figures taken from both Eastern and Western culture. Rock and roll music posters of the '60s and '70s are very much a product of their time, revealing the exuberance that swept through popular culture and the graphic arts. (left: Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Grateful Dead and Oxford Circle at Avalon Ballroom, September 16-17, 1966, 1966, Offset lithograph, 20 x 14 inches, ©1966, 1967, 1968 Family Dog Productions. Gift of Mark del Costello. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Johnstown is planning a summer full of events to help celebrate its latest exhibition, Rock On! Featuring more than 40 rock posters of 1960s and '70s groups and artists such as The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Santana and The Clash, Rock On! is sure to be of great interest to music fans of any age.
SAMA's Rock On! summer programs begin in June with The Art of Rock & Roll. Pittsburgh artist Mike Duran will be at the Museum to give a demonstration of rock poster art designed for novice and advanced artists alike. Duran is well-known for his pencil and pen and ink drawings of rock musicians, which are sold at CD and music stores throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. Participants also will have an opportunity to create their own rock poster art during the program, which begins at noon, June 27. Duran also will have on view, and available for sale, several of his rock posters. (right: Richard Avedon, Ringo Starr (Look Magazine), Offset lithograph, 31 1/8 x 22 1/2 inches, ©1967 NEMS Enterprises. Gift of Mark del Costello. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
In July, SAMA will host a pair of programs with national recording artist, Jim Donovan, drummer and percussionist of Rusted Root. The first program, Bongo Fury, will have Donovan teaching two African drum workshops at the Museum on July 6. The first workshop, which begins at 6 p.m., is designed for children. An adult workshop will follow at 7:30. Drums will be available at the workshop, although a limit of 50 persons maximum has been set.
Donovan will return to the Johnstown Museum on July 7 for a solo concert to begin at 7 p.m. Donovan has been playing venues across the United States for more than 15 years with the multi-platinum Rusted Root and as a solo artist. He has released three solo CDs and four instructional drumming CDs. His latest recording, Revelation #9, was nominated for 2004 Electronica Album of the Year by Just Plain Folks Songwriters organization. Donovan also is a featured columnist in Drum! Magazine, and was recently nominated for "Best Rock Pop Percussionist" in the magazine's 2004 readers' poll.
The Museum's journey into the world of rock continues in August with SAMA's Magical Mystery Tour. The program will be led by a mystery guest and will feature an exhibition tour and special presentation.
SAMA's summer celebration culminates in late August with Saturday Night Special, a concert event designed to evoke the music and mood of '60s and '70s rock & roll. The concert begins at 6 p.m., August 20, and will feature more than five hours of live music. Beginning with acoustic rock by local musician John Charney, visitors will have an opportunity to examine the poster exhibition while period rock music is performed in the gallery. At 7 p.m., Pittsburgh-area jam band Doodis will perform in the Black Box Theatre. Following their performance, local favorites Grinning Mob will take the stage for a full two hour set. Other special surprises are planned for the evening. (left: Richard Avedon, John Lennon (Look Magazine), Offset lithograph, 31 1/8 x 22 1/2 inches, ©1967 NEMS Enterprises. Gift of Mark del Costello. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
Checklist for the exhibition
(above left: Philip Chiang and Rod Dyer, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Europe 1974, 1974, Offset lithograph, 30 x 20 inches, ©MCA Records. Gift of Mark del Costello. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art; above right: Jamie Reid, The Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen, 1978, Offset lithograph, 27 1/2 x 39 inches, ©1978 Jamie Reid. Gift of Mark del Costello. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
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