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Poster - Bill Graham Presents

Bill Graham Presents

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    San Francisco (designed)

  • Date:

    1970 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Singer, David, born 1941 (designer)
    Sätty, Wilfred, born 1939 - died 1982 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithography on card stock

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

  • Museum number:


  • 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 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 gig from Chicago, an American band from 1967 that started with an experimental sound and attitude but found greatest success with a more middle-of-the-road (MOR) sound. Their biggest hit in the US and UK was 1976's If You Leave Me Now. They were supported by James Cotton, famous for his harmonica playing, with his band mainly playing their own arrangements of popular blues and R&B material from the 1950s & 60s; they also toured with Janis Joplin.

Physical description

Poster advertising Chicago, James Cotton Blues Band, Family and Fritz at Fillmore West, San Francisco, 1970, March 26 - 29. Dark blue background with illustration of a skeleton in profile, reaching upwards with birds flying to its hand.

Place of Origin

San Francisco (designed)


1970 (designed)


Singer, David, born 1941 (designer)
Sätty, Wilfred, born 1939 - died 1982 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Lithography on card stock


Height: 55 cm, Width: 35 cm

Object history note

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

Descriptive line

Poster advertising Chicago, James Cotton Blues Band, Family and Fritz at Fillmore West, San Francisco, 1970, March 26 - 29.

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

Subjects depicted



Entertainment & Leisure; Advertising


Theatre and Performance Collection

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