Friday, May 26, 2017

"The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll," at the de Young museum, S.F. through August 20

The mid-1960s brought free-spirited musicians, activists, artists and writers in search of enlightenment to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. By the summer of 1967, it attracted an estimated 100,000 young women and men, who also fanned out into nearby Golden Gate park.

"The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll" at the de Young museum celebrates this era with an eclectic display of more than 300 cultural artifacts. These include photographs, rock posters, fashions, music and psychedelic light shows.

The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other local bands pioneered the "San Francisco Sound." 

At the same time, psychedelic light shows by Bill Ham, Ben Van Meter and other creatives-along with rock-and-roll posters featuring hand-lettering and pulsating hues by artists Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Wes Wilson-added to the groovy vibe.

On the fashion scene, designers Birgitta Bjerke, aka 100% Birgitta; Mickey McGowan, aka the Apple Cobbler; Burray Olson and Jeanne Rose created particular types of attire that set the Bay Area counterculture apart from conventional America. Through crotchet, embroidery, hand-painting, knitting, leather work, re-imagined denim, tie-dye and other techniques and materials they invented wildly imaginative pieces.

At its core, the Summer of Love was a social and aesthetic movement happening in the midst of international upheaval. This namesake exhibition explores the pivotal role San Francisco played in helping to change societal norms.

-Stephanie Wright Hession

All images courtesy of the de Young Museum.

Through August 20. "The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll," at the de Young museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F. 

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday and open late on Fridays: 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., June 2-August 18. 

Members: Free; $25 adults; $20 seniors (65+); $20 Students with valid ID; $10 youth (6-17); Free for children 5 and younger. (415) 750-3600,

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