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Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, “Skeleton and Roses,” Grateful Dead, Oxford Circle, September 16 & 17, Avalon Ballroom, 1966

Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, “Skeleton and Roses,” Grateful Dead, Oxford Circle, September 16 & 17, Avalon Ballroom, 1966. Color offset lithograph poster, 19 15/16 x 14 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts Endowment Fund. Copyright 1966, 1984, 1994. Rhino Entertainment Company. Used with permission. All rights reserved. www.familydog.com

Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll

April 8, 2017August 20, 2017
Herbst Exhibition Galleries

Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll will be an exhilarating exhibition of iconic rock posters, photographs, interactive music and light shows, costumes and textiles, ephemera, and avant-garde films. A 50th anniversary celebration of the adventurous and colorful counterculture that blossomed in the years surrounding the legendary San Francisco summer of 1967, the exhibition will present more than 300  significant cultural artifacts of the time, including almost 150 objects from the Fine Arts Museums’ extensive permanent holdings, supplemented by key, iconic loans.

In the mid-1960s, artists, activists, writers, and musicians converged on Haight-Ashbury with hopes of creating a new social paradigm. By 1967, the neighborhood would attract as many as 100,000 young people from all over the nation. The neighborhood became ground zero for their activities, and nearby Golden Gate Park their playground.

The period is marked by groundbreaking developments in art, fashion, music, and politics. Local bands such as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead were the progenitors of what would become known as the “San Francisco Sound,” music that found its visual counterpart in creative industries that sprang up throughout the region. Rock-poster artists such as Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, and Wes Wilson generated an exciting array of distinctive works featuring distorted hand-lettering and vibrating colors, while wildly creative light shows, such as those by Bill Ham and Ben Van Meter, served as expressions of the new psychedelic impulse.

Distinctive codes of dress also set members of the Bay Area counterculture apart from mainstream America. Local designers began to create fantastic looks using a range of techniques and materials, including leatherwork, hand-painting, knitting and crotchet, embroidery, repurposed denim, and tie-dye. These innovators included Birgitta Bjerke, aka 100% Birgitta; Mickey McGowan, aka the Apple Cobbler; Burray Olson; and Jeanne Rose.

Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll commemorates an “only in San Francisco” social and aesthetic movement, and will remind museum visitors that in a time of international upheaval, the city played a vital role in changing society and amplifying the pulse of the nation.

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. President’s Circle: Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. Benefactor’s Circle: Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman. Patron’s Circle: Edith and Joseph O. Tobin II, and M H de Young Tobin II. Additional support is provided by Nancy and Joachim Bechtle, Ms. Lauren L. T. Hall and Mr. David Hearth, and Debbie and Blake Jorgensen.