465 Huntington Avenue Boston
In celebration of the Summer of Love’s 50th anniversary, this exhibition explodes with a profusion of more than 120 posters, album covers and photographs from the transformative years around 1967. That summer, fueled by sensational stories in the national media, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood became a mecca for thousands seeking an alternative to the constrictions of postwar American society. A new graphic vocabulary emerged in posters commissioned to advertise weekly rock concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium and the Avalon Ballroom, with bands such as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and the Janis Joplin-led Big Brother & The Holding Company. A group of more than 50 concert posters highlights experiments with psychedelic graphic design and meandering typography—often verging on the illegible. These include works by Wes Wilson, who took inspiration from earlier art movements such as the Vienna Secession, and Victor Moscoso, whose studies of color theory with Josef Albers at Yale University translated into striking use of bright, saturated colors in his own designs. A grid of 25 album covers traces the influence of the famously amorphous lettering in the Beatles’ 1965 album Rubber Soul on countless covers and posters from later in the decade. At the heart of the exhibition is a group of 32 photographs by Herb Greene, a pioneering member of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture and now a resident of Massachusetts. Many of his iconic images document the city’s burgeoning music scene, while a selection from a newly published portfolio offers a glimpse at everyday life in the Haight during the fabled summer of 1967.