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Sperry Stoked for Spoke

On April 6, 2018, in Events, Posters, by Ben Marks

Chuck Sperry, Hangar 18, 2018. Photo by Shaun Roberts

In a recent interview in Juxtapoz, Chuck Sperry spoke about three of the prints that will be in his upcoming exhibition at Spoke Art:

“A central triptych in my solo at Spoke Art is very loosely, thematically based on the women only festival or ritual Thesmaphoria, a closed ritual devoted to Demeter. The three pieces show Anodos (Ascent), Demeter (Mother Goddess), and Kalligeneia (Beautiful Creation). It is the harvest festival, a ritual fertility sacrifice, and celebration of the creative forces of womanhood practiced in ancient times.”

From left to right: “Anodos,” “Demeter,” and “Kalligeneia” by Chuck Sperry.

In recent years, Sperry’s exhibitions at Spoke have become rituals themselves, in which people camp out for days in advance, rain or shine, in order to get first pick of the artist’s work, which include the aforementioned Greek goddesses in William Morris-inspired settings. For 2018, Sperry’s Spoke ritual begins on April 7, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and runs through April 28. Think of it as a gift from fall to spring, in which everyone is invited to attend!

 

Gene Anthony Exhibition at E-Clectique

On March 30, 2018, in News, by Ben Marks

George Harrison photograph and painting by Gene Anthony, at E-Clectique Gallery, Oakland, CA.

On Saturday March 31, 2018, fans of 1960s rock art will have a rare opportunity to meet Gene Anthony and see some of his latest “Summer of Love” work at the E-Clectique Gallery in Oakland, California. Included in the show are photo-paintings of all the big “J”s, from Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin to Jim Morrison and Jerry Garcia. Everyone was in San Francisco for the Summer of Love, even George Harrison, whose endless smile was captured by Anthony’s camera.

Anthony will only attend the show’s opening, which begins on March 31 at 3 p.m. and runs until around 9. The gallery is located at 4125 Piedmont Ave., #13; enter through The Courtyard on Piedmont, climb the stairs, and it’s on your right. For more information, call 510-325-2520 or visit the gallery’s Facebook page.

 

Over the years, fans of rock-poster artist Emek have unwittingly enjoyed a slow-motion retrospective of the artist’s work—albeit one year’s worth at a time—every time they visited the artist’s spacious booth at the Festival of Rock Posters in Golden Gate Park. But from February 24 though the end of April, 2018, time will stand still when the Haight Street Art Center presents a retrospective of Emek’s work titled “Artifacts.” With roughly 200 pieces expected to be on view, this is a rare chance to see many of the artist’s most beloved pieces in one place. Join the throngs expected for the opening on February 24, from 6 to 8 p.m., or visit any time, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

UPDATE: No surprise, the show is great (some cellphone snapshots below). Don’t miss it! And be sure to attend a conversation with the artist on Tuesday, February 27. Info here.

 

 

Achenbach Field Trip, 2018

On January 21, 2018, in Events, Photos, Preservation, by Ben Marks

Denis Mosgofian of Tea Lautrec Litho (at center, in dark coat) points out the differences between the original artwork by Wes Wilson for FD-01 and BG-29 (both from 1966) and their subsequent printings.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of San Francisco’s Legion on Honor, the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts is far removed from the press of the museum’s usual crowds, befitting its role as a place where important scholarship and painstaking restoration routinely happens. Recently, about a dozen members of The Rock Poster Society got a peek of a small portion of the foundation’s collection and learned how Achenbach experts prepare old, battered, and often irreplaceable pieces of paper for exhibition.

Our hosts were curator Colleen Terry and conservator Victoria Binder, both of whom made major contributions to last year’s Summer of Love exhibition at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. After passing through the foundation’s study center, we entered a small room featuring a handful of Family Dog and Fillmore posters from 1966, as well as a larger selection of Art Nouveau lithographs from the years 1898 to 1913.

Of the new stuff, which is to say, the half-century-old rock posters, it was a treat to compare Wes Wilson’s original art for FD-01 and BG-29 with their subsequent offset lithos. In the case of FD-01, one can read instructions to the printer specifying that the words “A Tribal Stomp” be reversed so that they’ll appear as white letters on the photograph they’ll eventually overlay. Wilson’s original art for BG-29 and its two companion prints tell a different story—the first version was printed in black on white to meet a deadline; the “final” version, with its added colors of orange, purple, and green, was printed later.

For rock-poster collectors, this is holy-grail material, but the antecedents of Wilson’s work was even more impressive. For me, the piece that stuck in my mind most was “Tropon,” an 1898 lithograph by Henry van de Velde, in which what appear to be stylized egg whites have fallen during separation from their yolks above. To my eye, this modest piece (roughly 12 by 8 inches) could be viewed as source material for some of the psychedelic reveries of Victor Moscoso, but even without that potential connection to the 1960s, the print stands on its own, a trippy little masterpiece of graphic design.

Our visit to Achenbach concluded with a demonstration by Anisha Gupta, the foundation’s Mellon Fellow in Paper Conservation, who explained how she used targeted heat to remove the backing from a rare World War I poster for an upcoming exhibition. Gupta and Binder also answered some of our questions about how rips are repaired and paper is cleaned without destroying a poster’s image. Suffice it to say, the techniques they described were not the sorts of things one should try at home, but it was comforting to know that one of the trickiest repairs for conservators also turned out to be one of the most common problems for collectors of old posters—removing Scotch tape.

(All prints are in the collection of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts)

 
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