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Poster - Bill Graham Presents

Bill Graham Presents

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    San Francisco (designed)

  • Date:

    1967 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    MacLean, Bonnie, born 1939 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithography on card stock

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

  • Museum number:

    S.702-2010

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Fillmore in San Francisco is a historic music venue, named after its original location at the intersection of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard. Known as the Fillmore Auditorium in the mid-1960s, concert promoter Bill Graham began a series of concerts featuring bands from the counterculture of the time. In 1968, due to his spiralling success, he moved to a larger venue which he named Fillmore West. Having closed in 1971, and after extensive repair work to fix earthquake damage, Graham's was revived when Live Nation reopened the original Fillmore venue in 1994.

San Francisco in the mid-1960s was the hub of the LSD and Hippie scene and the cultural and political rebellion of 1967's Summer of Love. The resulting influence of these factors on the artists of the area created the fantastic psychedelic posters of the Fillmore. Art dealer Jacaeber Kastor said of the posters, "They couldn't just tell you the information about the show. They had to tell you what kind of people you might meet, what kind of far out trip you might have or perhaps even reveal the mysteries of the universe. Wow. Quantum mechanics, visual mudwrestling, Acid test pop quiz on a phone pole!"

The artist of this poster, Bonnie MacLean, had no formal training, but had attended life drawing classes at night whilst working in New York City. After moving to San Francisco she became Bill Graham's secretary at the office where he worked prior to opening the Fillmore. They fell in love and were married in 1968. As she worked on her creativity, drawing the current band line-ups and upcoming attractions on the Fillmore's chalkboards, the previous poster artist, Wes Wilson, abruptly left. Graham gave MacLean an easel and art supplies that Christmas and asked her to carry on the poster designs. She freely experimented with diverse cultural imagery, from American Indian totems to hipsters in Nehru jackets. The faces of the people she painted wore trance-like stares and serene gazes, evoking the detached spirituality of the sixties.

This gig featured Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who had previously performed with Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, during the infamous concert where he was backed by electric guitar for the first time. They were supported by jazz multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk. Kirk was a blind musician who appeared onstage with several different obscure types of saxophone around his neck, and other instruments including flutes and whistles, often with a gong in reach. He could play several wind instruments at a time, creating chords, and also used many non-musical devices such as sirens or alarm clocks. His studio output often used primitive electronic sounds and tape-manipulated musique concrète.

Physical description

Poster advertising Butterfield Blues Band, Roland Kirk Quartet, New Salvation Army Bands and Mt. Rushmore performing July 11 to 16, 1967 at Fillmore West, San Francisco. Light blue background, with dark blue and yellow illustration featuring a face with surreal embellishments.

Place of Origin

San Francisco (designed)

Date

1967 (designed)

Artist/maker

MacLean, Bonnie, born 1939 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Lithography on card stock

Dimensions

Height: 53.4 cm, Width: 35.5 cm

Object history note

Transferred as part of a collection from the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, in 1985.

Descriptive line

Poster advertising Butterfield Blues Band, Roland, Kirk Quartet, New Salvation Army Bands and Mt. Rushmore performing July 11 to 16, 1967 at Fillmore West, San Francisco.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Lemke, Gayle The Art of the Fillmore 1966-71, Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, 1999
Poster Collecting. Fillmore Poster. 06 August 2010.

Subjects depicted

Psychedelia

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Advertising

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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