Wednesday, July 10, 2013

San Francisco countercultural posters featured in Massachusetts gallery

Martha and the Vandellas, 1967,
 by Bonnie MacLean
Tangential, at best, to the subject of magazines, nevertheless it's interesting (courtesy of a Facebook post by Rona Maynard, the former editor of Chatelaine) to see that the psychedelic posters of the '60s are making a gallery appearance.
Summer of Love is at Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Mass. (about as far as one might get from the home of the artform, San Francisco). 
The psychedelic aesthetic, which features bright, often clashing colors, freely drawn lettering styles, and dream-like imagery, was meant to mimic and capture the visual experience of mind-altering drugs. 
During the 1960s poster art underwent a radical transformation, emerging as an important means of communication. The time period saw a crucial shift from the mass-produced poster as an advertising vehicle to an art form whose goal was to spark social and political change. 
Psychedelic posters served as a kind of visual social media of their time, attracting and linking their main audience: young people in San Francisco. At the same time—with their provocative imagery and messages, inventive typography, and distinctive palette—the posters gained attention far beyond San Francisco where they were first posted or distributed.
This kind of wild and crazy artwork found its way into many magazines in the '60s and had a profound impact on art directors and designers of the time. 

The exhibition guide (pdf).  

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