In the late 1960s, San Francisco was ground zero for an unprecedented social revolution. Artists created a new genre in the process: the collectible rock concert poster.
Dreams Unreal explores the development of counter culture in San Francisco from 1965-1970 through the posters, hand bills and postcards that were printed to advertise music performances and events. The intersection of music and the arts became central to the youth culture that fostered social and cultural experimentation. A group of young visual artists collaborated with commercial lithographers to create these printed materials for almost daily events at venues like the Fillmore and the Avalon featuring musicians and bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Janis Joplin led Big Brother and the Holding Company, and others.
Graphic artists including Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Bonnie Maclean, Victor Moscoso, and Wes Wilson created a new artistic genre – the collectible rock concert poster. Dreams Unreal demonstrates how these artists were influenced by posters of the past and how their innovative approaches to graphics and color reflected a changing aesthetic that was embedded in the mood of the time.
The posters featured in Dreams Unreal are part of a collection of more than 300 psychedelic posters, handbills, and post cards given to the Albuquerque Museum in 2015 by Dr. James Gunn. He acquired the images while attending the University of California Berkeley in the 1960s.
The exhibition will include Rick Griffin’s poster for the The Human Be-In, the event that paved the way for 1967’s Summer of Love, works by Wes Wilson experimenting with melting fonts, a rare poster for a cancelled Grateful Dead concert in Hawaii, and many others.
Dreams Unreal captures a moment in time when young people were imagining a different kind of future.
Curated by Titus O'Brien with a comprehensive accompanying book published by the University of New Mexico Press.