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Poster - Bill Graham Presents Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Bill Graham Presents Quicksilver Messenger Service
    MacLean, Bonnie
  • Enlarge image

Bill Graham Presents Quicksilver Messenger Service

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    United States (made)

  • Date:

    1967 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    MacLean, Bonnie (designer)
    Graham, Bill, born 1931 - died 1991 (issued by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour offset lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:

    E.426-2004

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 514, case TOPIC, shelf 11

In the early days of the Fillmore, Bonnie MacLean could be found collecting tickets, handing out flyers, counting money – even blowing up balloons! It was her skill at lettering forthcoming events on the chalkboard that prompted Bill Graham to make her a present of art equipment for Christmas 1967. Inspired to design posters, she developed a unique style, based on Gothic, Art Nouveau and New Age influences. The people who populate her posters often wear dreamy expressions, calm and nonchalant, evoking the aloof attitude of the sixties.

Here, MacLean's design ‘graphically’ introduces the performers. A Messenger with a winged helmet, carrying a scroll, evokes Mercury, messenger of the Roman gods, and suggests the element of the same name, also known as ‘quicksilver’. He darts over the ‘Grass Roots’ that grow upon the banks flanking the ‘Mad River’. Quicksilver Messenger Service was one of San Francisco’s most noteworthy psychedelic bands, who although popular in the Bay area, never received the nationwide recognition achieved by contemporaries such as The Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane.

Physical description

Psychedelic poster advertising a concert for Quicksilver Messenger Service. A grinning, yellow figure wearing a blue winged hat with yellow lightning-like horns, and blue gloves and a cape flies across the poster. Only its torso is visible, and it carries a scroll in its hand. Below it is a bank of foliage and a stream. The names of the bands and some of the event details appear as yellow text on the creature's cape. The lettering reads, 'Bill Graham presents in San Francisco Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grass Roots, Mad River, Lights by Holy See', and in the river below 'Bonnie MacLean © 1967 Bill Graham #87, Fillmore'. The dates of the event, 'Oct. 5 - 6 - 7' are printed on the yellow scroll in purple letters.

Place of Origin

United States (made)

Date

1967 (made)

Artist/maker

MacLean, Bonnie (designer)
Graham, Bill, born 1931 - died 1991 (issued by)

Materials and Techniques

Colour offset lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

'BILL GRAHAM PRESENTS IN SAN FRANCISCO / QUICKSILVER / MESSENGER / SERVICE / GRASS ROOTS / MAD RIVER, LIGHTS BY / HOLY SEE / BONNIE MACLEAN © 1967 BILL GRAHAM #87 / FILLMORE / OCT. 5 - 6 - 7'
Incorporated into the design of the poster, appearing in the creature's cloak, its scroll, and as waves in the water, in yellow, purple or blue stylised lettering

TICKETS / SAN FRANCISCO: City Lights Bookstore; S.F. State College (Hut T-1); The Town Squire (1318 Polk); Wild Colors (1418 Haight); / Bally Lo (Union Square); HAYWARD: Matsuri; BERKELEY: Discount Records; Shakespeare & Co; SAN MATEO: Town & Country Records; / REDWOOD CITY: . Redwood House of Music; PALO ALTO: Dana Morgan Music; MILL VALLEY: Record Shack; SAUSALITO: The Tides.'
Ticket vendors' information, below the main image, dark blue typeface

Dimensions

Height: 53.7 cm, Width: 36.6 cm

Descriptive line

'Bill Graham Presents Quicksilver Messenger Service' psychedelic poster by Bonnie MacLean for Bill Graham, USA, 1967

Materials

Paper; Ink

Techniques

Lithography

Subjects depicted

Figures; Helmets; Capes; Psychedelic art; Flowers; Wings; Music; Gloves

Categories

Prints; Entertainment & Leisure; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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