4th – 28th May, 2016
Private View: Tuesday 3rd May, 6 – 8.30pm
‘It’s a very salutary thing to realise that the rather dull universe in which most of us spend our time is not the only universe there is.’
― Aldous Huxley
Shapero Modern is delighted to present When Pop Went Day-Glo: Psychedelic posters, 1966 – 1970, the first exhibition of its kind ever to be staged in the United Kingdom.
Curated by the revered cultural historian Barry Miles, the show is a selection of posters from the archive of the late publisher Felix Dennis, whose entire collection of more than 700 posters was recently acquired by Shapero Rare Books.
Psychedelia is a name given to the art forms inspired by psychedelic drugs, such as LSD. It was most popularly expressed by musicians of the late 1960s, the best-known exponents being Pink Floyd and The Beatles. This exhibition documents its impact on a group of visual artists who worked in the medium of the poster during that period.
Felix Dennis was well placed to build his collection. While he was attached to the legendary underground magazine Oz, he also worked for ECAL, a company that distributed posters advertising concerts in and around London. This allowed him to acquire works directly from the artists. He was a particular admirer of the Osiris Agency, which published the work of Michael English and Nigel Waymouth, known collectively as Hapshash and the Coloured Coat. Frequently inspired by LSD with their ‘tripping partner’, Who guitarist Pete Townshend, the two men would create iconic posters for the seminal UFO Club, some of which feature in this show.
Other works come from Martin Sharp (1942 – 2013), who created many iconic posters, including
Exploding Hendrix and Mr Tambourine Man: Blowin’ in the Mind featuring Bob Dylan. These will be shown alongside the eye-popping surrealism of Stanley Mouse and Rick Griffin, as well as the psychedelic fonts of Wes Wilson. In addition, there are a number of works by lesser-known artists, such as Victor Moscoso and his Neon Rose posters.
Says curator Barry Miles: ‘Felix [Dennis] was an accumulator, nothing was thrown away – he even kept the corks from the thousands of bottles of wine he and his thirsty friends consumed over the years. As far as his poster collection was concerned, he was serious about it, buying plan chests to keep the posters flat and at various times employing people to photograph and catalogue them, but he was not an obsessive. He collected what he liked rather than collecting by catalogue numbers and ticking things off. As a consequence this is a very personal collection, concentrating on the artists whom he particularly admired.’
For more information contact Albany Arts Communications:
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Notes to editors:
About Barry Miles: Miles is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subjects of the 1960s London underground and counterculture. He is the author of numerous books and his work has also regularly appeared in many newspapers, including The Guardian and The Times. In the 1960s he helped start the independent newspaper International Times. In 1965 Allen Ginsberg gave a reading at Better Books, where Miles worked, that led to the International Poetry Incarnation, a seminal event co-organised by Miles – in the same year, Miles and his wife, introduced The Beatle Paul McCartney to hash brownies by using a recipe for hash fudge that they had found in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. Following the International Poetry Incarnation, Miles established the Indica Gallery and Bookshop, allowing him to meet many of the stars of the Swinging London social scene. Miles brought McCartney into contact with people who wanted to start International Times, which McCartney helped to fund. With John Hopkins and Dave Howson, Miles organised The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream, a concert on 29th April 1967 at Alexandra Palace to raise funds for International Times. It was a multi-artist event, featuring poets, artists and musicians. Pink Floyd headlined the event, and other artists included Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Arthur Brown, jazz-rock group Soft Machine, Tomorrow and The Pretty Things. Miles became the de facto manager of the Apple’s short-lived Zapple Records label in 1969. Miles’ book Hippie is a reminiscence of the Hippie sub-culture of the 1960s and early 1970s, with interviews, quotes, and images. He co-wrote I Want to Take You Higher (documenting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit by the same name) with Charles Perry and James Henke. He also wrote Paul McCartney’s official biography, Many Years from Now (1998), and has written biographies of Frank Zappa, John Lennon, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and Ginsberg, in addition to books on The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Clash, as well as a definitive history of London’s counterculture since 1945, London Calling. Miles currently lives in London and is married to travel writer Rosemary Bailey.
About Felix Dennis: Dennis (27 May 1947 – 22 June 2014) was an English publisher, poet, spoken word performer and philanthropist. His company, Dennis Publishing, pioneered computer and hobbyist magazine publishing in the United Kingdom. In more recent times, the company added lifestyle titles such as its flagship brand The Week, which is published in the UK and the United States. He was one of the defendants in the famous Oz magazine obscenity trial in 1971, along with Richard Neville and Jim Anderson. The case was conducted at the Old Bailey, under the auspices of Judge Michael Argyle. Of particular significance was the adaptation of the Rupert Bear cartoon character in an explicitly sexual situation. The three men were found guilty and sentenced to up to 15 months imprisonment, however this was later quashed on appeal by the lord chief justice.
About Shapero Modern: Shapero Modern focuses on contemporary prints and works on paper, and stages four to five exhibitions a year, each with a curatorial theme.