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NEWS Last modified on September 30, 2014

Art exhibition rocking at San Francisco

San Francisco International Airport is showcasing a new exhibition of art and artefacts from the city’s 1960s Bay Area music scene.

When Art Rocked: San Francisco Music Posters 1966-1971 is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, and the free exhibition is on view to all visitors from September 29, 2014, to March 22, 2015.

The exhibition features over 150 posters created by these five artists along with many lesser-known artists who designed posters for shows at the Fillmore and Avalon featuring bands such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Thirteenth Floor Elevators.

From 1966 to 1971, an unprecedented quantity of extraordinary graphic art was produced in the San Francisco Bay Area, resulting from the demand for posters, handbills, and flyers advertising rock concerts in San Francisco.


The two main patrons of this proliferation of posters were Bill Graham - who promoted concerts at the Fillmore and Chet Helms, leader of an organization called the Family Dog, which produced concerts at the Avalon Ballroom.

Poster artists were inspired by Art Nouveau masters, such as Alphonse Mucha whose blocky lettering was made psychedelic by Wes Wilson, and Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse were further drawn to advertising art and appropriated images.


Mouse and a Southern California artist named Rick Griffin were also infatuated with the artwork that grew out of hot-rod car culture, while Victor Moscoso, created posters that nearly vibrated before the viewer’s eyes.

Guest curator Ben Marks is the senior editor of CollectorsWeekly.com and vice president of The Rock Poster Society, whose members loaned posters, postcards, handbills, tickets, and other ephemera for the exhibition.

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