Friday, April 27, 2012

Rock the Post- Part II

Back in February I wrote about the coolness that is 1960s rock poster designs−it looks like The Museum at Bethel Woods shares my interest, and earlier this month opened up a special exhibition, Byrd/Skolnick: A Tale of Two Posters. The exhibition looks at the work of David Edward Byrd and Arnold Skolnick, who were both commissioned to create posters for the original Woodstock Festival. It turns out that Byrd, a designer with the Fillmore East, was originally approached, and came up with a classic, Art Nouveau design, featuring a nude "Aquarius" pouring water from an urn; when the festival had to be moved from Woodstock mere weeks before it began, the organizers tried to get Byrd to do a redesign, but he was on vacation in the Caribbean. This lead to a last minute request to Skolnick, who turned around and created the much simpler graphic of the bird and guitar, which has become iconic.

Here's a fun video that looks at the development of '60s rock posters, and the influence from Parisian advertising posters of the late 19th to early 20th century... of course! I love Alphonse Mucha, Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, et. al−it's interesting to see how that art influenced the later designs:

Both Byrd and Skolnick will be in attendance at Bethel Woods this Saturday, April 28, starting at 2 p.m., for a special conversation with my colleague Stephanie Plunkett, Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Norman Rockwell Museum. The talk will be held in conjunction with a rock art poster fair being held at the Bethel Woods museum that weekend, where collectors, vendors, scholars and print-makers will share their enthusiasm for the iconic art forms of rock posters and prints. It sounds like great fun, and the weekend kicks off with a screening of the film, American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art

 This film looks great... I was not previously aware of it, but it seems to encapsulate everything from the classic '60s to modern-rock poster renaissance. I'm also intrigued by the look at DIY printmaking... I saw a bit of this technique at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival last summer−I believe it is part of the footage that I will include in my video profile on the event (coming soon!).

It was around the early '90s that you started to see the return of these vibrant, rock art posters... I remember it being in full-force by the time I was DJing at WBER-FM in Rochester, New York. That resulted in lots of cool promotional materials that complemented the edgy music scene.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get to see the exhibition at Bethel Woods and this documentary... and maybe I'll try my hand at designing a modern-rock poster at some point? I used to experiment with such things back in high school/college... it would be fun to try and "rock out" again.

(I know, I promised some modern examples... watch this, er, post...)

Bethel Woods Center website:

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