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Poster - Bill Graham Presents

Bill Graham Presents

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    San Francisco (designed)

  • Date:

    1969 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Conklin, Lee (illustrators)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithography on card stock

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

  • Museum number:

    S.774-2010

  • 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, Lee Conklin, was a security guard in Los Angeles when he began to notice Wes Wilson's Fillmore poster art appearing in magazines such as Time; at which point he decided to move to San Francisco in order to pursue his dream of making a living from his artistic work. He approached Graham and was commissioned there and then, producing a large body of work over the years of 1968 and 1969. His designs featured birds, cats, lions and dogs and particularly human figures or faces, hands and other limbs, often intertwined and growing out of each other. He was dedicated to hand drawing, and put to paper the most literal psychedelic inspiration of any of the Fillmore artists. "I made it my mission to translate my psychedelic experience onto paper. The afterglow was always the most creative time for me."

This poster advertised a concert featuring Iron Butterfly and James Cotton Blues Band. Iron Butterfly was a psychedelic rock band, known for their 1968 hit In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida; the album from which this song came is the 31st best selling album in the world, with sales of over 25 million copies. James Cotton was famous for his harmonica playing, with his band mainly playing their own arrangements of popular blues and R&B material from the 1950s and 60s; they also toured with Janis Joplin.

Physical description

Poster advertising Iron Butterfly, James Cotton Blues Band and A. B. Skhy performing 23-26 Jan 1969 at Fillmore West, San Francisco. Illustrated surrealist drawing, reminiscent of a nuclear mushroom cloud made of body parts in blue and pink ink, against a yellow sky with orange text.

Place of Origin

San Francisco (designed)

Date

1969 (designed)

Artist/maker

Conklin, Lee (illustrators)

Materials and Techniques

Lithography on card stock

Dimensions

Height: 53.4 cm, Width: 35.6 cm

Object history note

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

Descriptive line

Poster advertising Iron Butterfly, James Cotton Blues Band and A. B. Skhy performing 23-26 Jan 1969 at Fillmore West, San Francisco.

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

Poster Collecting. Fillmore Poster. 06 August 2010.

Lemke, Gayle The Art of the Fillmore 1966-71, Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, 1999

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Advertising

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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