Wright Museum of Art flashes back to 1960s

Wright Museum of Art flashes back to 1960s


BELOIT, WIS—Rock concert posters from the center of hippiedom—the late 1960s Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco—will be on display when Feelin’ Groovy: Rock ‘n Roll Graphics, 1966-70 opens at the Wright Museum of Art at Beloit College on Friday, Aug. 30.

The exhibit features 100 vividly illustrated posters and handbills used to promote rock concerts by bands like the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, and Steppenwolf. The nationally touring show will remain at Beloit College through Saturday, Oct. 5.

The posters were originally created for promotional purposes, but their vibrant colors, obtuse lettering and original imagery became an art form in their own right that continues to influence graphic design and advertising today.

Between 1966 and 1970, about 450 poster designs were created to advertise concerts in just two venues: the Fillmore Auditorium and the Avalon Ballroom, both in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, the counter-culture center of the time. The posters were typically produced in small quantities, and their designs mimicked the art nouveau themes of exotic plants, floating swans and women with flowing veils and hair.

To add to the psychedelic mood of the show, museum visitors are encouraged to bring their 1960’s rock ’n’ roll album covers to share and compare with others at an opening reception on Friday, Aug. 30. The public is invited to attend the reception, which begins at 4 p.m.

Ron Tomaro, adjunct assistant professor of music at Beloit College and conductor of the Beloit-Janesville Symphony Orchestra, will present a special lecture about the rock music scene that inspired this stunningly original artwork. His presentation, sponsored by the Art League of Beloit, is open to the public and takes place at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18 in the Logan Room of the Wright Museum of Art.

Shannon Dillard Mitchell, former gallery curator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Galleries, curated Feelin’ Groovy from private collections, and the tour, which will go on to visit a dozen U.S. cities, is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a private, non-profit organization.

Feelin’ Groovy: Rock ’n’ Roll Graphics: 1966-1970 is free and open to the public. The Wright Museum of Art, located on the Beloit College campus, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

For more information, call the Wright Museum of Art at 608-363-2677.

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