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Bill Graham Presents

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    San Francisco (designed)

  • Date:

    1967 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    MacLean, Bonnie, born 1939 (designer)
    Creative Lithograph Co. (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithography on card stock

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

  • Museum number:

    S.769-2010

  • 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 venue 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 Bo Diddley, a guitarist and singer known as "The Originator" because of his key role in the transition from blues music to rock and roll. He was supported by Big Brother and the Holding Company, a seminal San Francisco psychedelic rock band featuring Janis Joplin on vocals, and Quicksilver Messenger Service, a band considered one of San Francisco's leading acts on the city's psychedelic scene in the mid-to-late 1960s, integral to the beginnings of the genre.

Physical description

Poster advertising Bo Diddley, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Joe Williams performing 4-9 July 1967 at The Fillmore, San Francisco. Bright red and olive green typography at top, with illustration of two humanoid creatures in red and green holding out a hand.

Place of Origin

San Francisco (designed)

Date

1967 (designed)

Artist/maker

MacLean, Bonnie, born 1939 (designer)
Creative Lithograph Co. (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Lithography on card stock

Dimensions

Height: 53.5 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 Bo Diddley, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Joe Williams performing 4-9 July 1967 at The Fillmore, 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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