Exhibition of Rock Posters Marks Summer of Love Anniversary

Grateful Dead PosterByrds PosterBurdon PosterThe Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University will mark the 40th anniversary of the "Summer of Love" -- when thousands of young people flocked to San Francisco for free love, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- with an exhibition featuring rock posters created in the Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s. When 6 WAS 9: Rock Posters from San Francisco, 1966-71, featuring 56 posters from the collection of Salem resident Gary Westfjord, will be on display May 26 to Aug. 26.

The museum will present a free lecture, roundtable discussion and film in conjunction with the exhibition. On June 8 from 5 to 6 p.m., Westfjord will give a lecture on the history of rock posters. The museum will show the documentary film "Monterey Pop" June 14 at 7 p.m. Poster artist Bob Schnepf, Westfjord and Museum Director John Olbrantz will have a roundtable discussion June 23 from 2 to 3 p.m. about the San Francisco music scene. All events are free and will be held in the Roger Hull Lecture Hall at the museum.

Included in the exhibition will be posters by major San Francisco poster artists of the period, including Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Bonnie Maclean, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, Bob Schnepf and Wes Wilson. These posters, remarkable for their strong design, psychedelic colors and powerful imagery, promoted concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium and the Avalon Ballroom by such legendary performers as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and others.

Originally tacked on telephone poles and displayed in storefronts, the posters were commissioned by music impresarios Bill Graham and Chet Helms and were often given away at weekly concerts. In recent years their value as works of art has been firmly established as they have been featured in major exhibitions in San Diego, New York and elsewhere.

A companion exhibition, American Music Posters, 1935-2007, will be presented at the Bush Barn Art Center in Salem from July 6 to Aug. 5. The Bush Barn Art Center is located at 600 Mission St., in Bush's Pasture Park. For more information, call (503) 581-2228.

When 6 WAS 9: Rock Posters from San Francisco, 1966-71 is supported in part by grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax and the Oregon Arts Commission.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information, call (503) 370-6855.