Selected Press
High Art: Artforum – January 2005 
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Announcement

Bold as Love

Psychedelic Posters of the 60s


March 6 - April 24, 2004
521 W 21 Street


Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Bold as Love: Psychedelic Posters of the '60s, the next exhibition in his gallery at 529 West 21st Street.

The exhibition will consist of over 60 vintage posters made between 1965 and 1969, designed by more than twenty graphic artists from the United States and Great Britain.

psychedelic
adjective
1 a : of, relating to, or being drugs (as LSD) capable of producing abnormal psychic effects (as hallucinations) and sometimes psychic states resembling mental illness b : produced by or associated with the use of psychedelic drugs (a psychedelic experience)
2 : imitating, suggestive of, or reproducing effects (as distorted or bizarre images or sounds) resembling those produced by psychedelic drugs (psychedelic color schemes)

In the early 1960s LSD use first became widespread. In 1965 a series of extremely popular "Trips Festivals" were held in San Francisco and Los Angeles. These events, which brought the hallucinatory effects of LSD, still legal at the time, together with underground music of the day, gave rise to the modern rock concert.

In an effort to spread the word, a group of young San Francisco-based graphic artists began making posters that attempted to capture the experience of attending these concerts. Counting Art Nouveau, Gustav Klimt, and Native American Art among their influences, these artists very quickly forged a uniquely original graphic style. They produced a new psychedelic aesthetic which proved extremely influential, and, thanks in part to the posters' mass production, this new style spread across the country and to Europe, where other artists and designers adopted it within a few short years.

The posters in the exhibition are characterized by bold colors, organic form, and the intersection of text and image. Although the earlier posters were designed to promote concerts for The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Velvet Underground and many lesser-known bands, the posters quickly departed from serving this sole purpose. Many of the artists stretched the text to the point of illegibility, with some abandoning it all together. Included in the exhibition are psychedelic posters produced for musical and non-musical events as well, such as a poetry reading by Allen Ginsberg, the Haight-Ashbury Clean-Up, the Human Be-In, and a Krishna Consciousness Mantra Rock Dance. Other posters announce screenings of experimental films, such as Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising and new works by Harry Smith and Gregory Markoupolous. There is even a psychedelic poster printed for the Haight-Ashbury Job Co-op encouraging employers to Hire the Hip.

Bold as Love: Psychedelic Posters of the '60s will be on view at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 529 West 21st Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues) through April 24th, 2004. Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

For further information or reproductions please contact Sabrina Buell at 212-243-0200.

Selected Press
High Art: Artforum – January 2005 
Download (PDF 1.3 MB)
Additional Information
Announcement