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Poster - Bill Graham Presents

Bill Graham Presents

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    San Francisco (designed)

  • Date:

    1970 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Singer, David, born 1941 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithography on index paper.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

  • Museum number:

    S.717-2010

  • 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 creator of this poster, David Singer, was an untrained artist doing odd jobs for graphic design companies around San Francisco. He had been interested in collage from an early age, taking inspiration from the surrealism of Max Ernst and Magritte, combining this with the counter-culture of the 1960s. After showing several pieces to Bill Graham, he was hired to produce 12 posters, which Graham liked instantly, as the lettering was legible, a departure from the previous poster art of the Fillmore. Singer worked for Graham right up until the closure of the Fillmore in 1971, for which he created the final design; he was reaching his zenith, adapting Art Deco and Art Nouveau lettering, using collage and freehand drawing to create distinctive graphics, when the venue shut in the summer of 1971.

This poster advertised a line-up headlined by the Steve Miller Band, who often played the Fillmore after moving to San Francisco in 1965 for the psychedelic scene in the early days of their career. They were supported by Sha Na Na, a group formed in 1969, who, wearing gold lame jackets and pompadour haircuts, simultaneously invoked 1950s rock and roll nostalgia and sent it up.

Physical description

Poster advertising Steve Miller Band, Sha Na Na, Ten Wheel Drive with Genya Ravan, performing January 29 to February 1, 1970 at Fillmore West, San Francisco. Pale grey border with black typography and central surrealistic photo-collage of a hand holding the planet Earth, with a quarter removed, against a background of a tilled field and sunset.

Place of Origin

San Francisco (designed)

Date

1970 (designed)

Artist/maker

Singer, David, born 1941 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Lithography on index paper.

Dimensions

Height: 55.8 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 Steve Miller Band, Sha Na Na, Ten Wheel Drive with Genya Ravan, performing January 29 to February 1, 1970 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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