e-fluxSpeaking of psychedelia and art, this exhibition will be showing in different
international venues until late next year, with an accompanying catalogue.
For synaesthetic experience, I was interested to see that the below blurb seems to place
The Soft Machine's light show as the English counterpart to Warhol/Velvet's
Exploding Plastic Inevitable but I recall Pink Floyd developing a lot of the oil-lamp gear
that was so synonymous with that scene and that a lighting team has always been an
essential appendage to the band for pretty early on.
If you'll excuse the musical digression, a quick flick through Nick Mason's recent
book reveals the following interesting cross-currents:
- 1965, experimental literature and readings at bookstores (particularly Indica, which
Peter Jenner is involved with) are a key part of the burgeoning London underground scene
with visits from Americans such as Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti and Corso. Warhol visits for a
poetry reading [much later, I think] and the first Velvet Underground tapes arrive in the
- Mar 1966, Pink Floyd Sound, as they were then called, move from playing R&B clubs to
doing 'happenings' at Marquee, which is where they meet Peter Jenner, who is also
involved with free-improvisation group AMM (Cornelius Cardew et al).
- Summer of '66, Mason makes a pilgrimage to see the great buildings of the USA as
further his ambitions as an architect. Spends time in San Francisco, which he says was not
yet the "'Summer of Love' capital of the world. Haight-Astbury was still
simply a crossroads."
- Autumn 1966, Jenner and Andrew King organise concerts at the All Saints church hall for
the Pink Floyd Sound. A visiting American couple, Joel and Toni Brown, project slides as
part of the happening. When they return to the US, King, Jenner and his wife Sumi
construct makeshift lighting devices, which are now an integral part of the show.
- Funds from the All Saints gigs help launch IT (International Times), the newspaper for
the London Underground which is launched with a concert (Oct 15) at the Chalk Farm
Roundhouse, an abandoned railway building that once had a giant turntable for steam
engines. As well as Jenner/King's lightshow and a performance from Soft Machine that
featured a revving motorcycle [contact mike on the cylinder head], this gig is also
remembered for a giant jelly that was accidentally driven into, and attendance from Paul
McCartney, Peter Brook, Monica Vitte, Michelangelo Antonioni and Marianne Faithful, who
won a 'shortest-barest' award for for her frock [a nun's habit].
- Dec 1966, Joe Boyd and John 'Hoppy' Hopkins set up the UFO (Underground Freak
Out), where Floyd and Soft Machine regularly appear along with theatre groups, poetry
readings and performance art events. UFO in-house lighting guy is Mark Boyle, who
regularly burns himself playing with lights and coloured acids and provides lighting for
Soft Machine. Floyd are the only band with their own light show.
- Mar 1967, Floyd release first single Arnold Layne. Around this time they start
recruiting roadies, including Peter Wynne Willson, who takes over on lights, introducing
experiments with polarisers, latex (cut up condoms), vibrating mirrors and spinning
- Apr 1967, the '14-Hour Technicolour Dream' is staged at Alexandra Palace as an
IT fundraiser and features Floyd and Soft Machine. Jenner describes it as the pinnacle of
pure amateur psychedelia. Others consider it just a big rock concert. Two weeks later
Floyd do the "Games for May" concert, which features a bubble machine and the
Azimuth Co-ordinator, possibly the first quadrophonic PA system for zooming sound effects
and keyboards around the room, built by an Abbey Road technician.
Because I'm to lazy to do a google, does anyone know off the top of their head what
the rough timing of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable and Factory happenings were? And
other related American stuff?
An acquaintance once mentioned that his late father used to design kinetic lighting
machines for bands in England, although he wasn't sure which ones. I really must
follow that one up.
Michael Morley, you've dabbled in this territory with some of your exhibitions,
----- Original Message -----
Subject: Summer of Love
SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT
Image: Robert Whitaker, Eric Clapton, 1967, Cibachrome Print, 122 x 82 cm, ©
Robert Whitaker SUMMER OF LOVE
ART OF THE PSYCHEDELIC ERA
2 November 2005 - 12 February 2006
SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT
60311 Frankfurt Germany
phone: (+49-69) 29 98 82-0
fax: (+49-69) 29 98 82-240?welcome(a)schirn.de
"Summer of Love" is a ground-breaking exhibition about psychedelic art
which illustrates the unique connections between contemporary art, popular culture, and
political protest during the 1960s and early 1970s. The presentation reveals that
psychedelia constitutes one of the most exciting but also one of the most neglected
phenomena in the history of the 20th century. The dialogue between psychedelic art and the
political revolution and counterculture of the time manifested itself in an extraordinary
aesthetic that gave expression to the social, political, ethnical, and sexual liberation.
Striving for an ecstatic art stimulated the expansion of consciousness and the deliberate
sensory overload. This was sometimes achieved with the help of hallucinogenic agents that
were an essential element of the psychedelic movement. The presentation of more than 350
works including paintings, photographs, films, light shows, environments, and record
covers, as well as documentary mater ial from Europe, the USA, South America, and Japan
presented within a sensational exhibition architecture designed by UN Studio (Ben van
Berkel, Caroline Bos) emphasizes the international character of the movement.
Psychedelic art has traditionally been relegated to the realm of applied art and bad
taste, always obscured by the historically and institutionally sanctioned art of the era,
the center of which was occupied by Pop, Minimal and Conceptual Art. The psychedelic style
was the result of a productive interaction between art, technology, drug culture, music,
and many other influences that created an extraordinary aesthetics deeply steeped in the
spirit of emancipation and freedom. Most important was the expansion of the range of
forms, colors, and media triggered by mind-expanding approaches and linked with a new
perception of space. Another crucial achievement of the movement was the fusion of quite
different artistic techniques which culminated in a new hybrid art form variously labeled
"intermedia," "multimedia" or "mixed media" art. It was this
fusion which made those multisensory spectacles possible for which the sixties became
famous. In addition, contemporary visual artists began experimenting with light shows or
ventured into music, film, fashion, design, or architecture establishing a close affinity
with the ephemeral yet highly compelling manifestations of the fast-moving popular and
Psychedelic aesthetics and politics, however, made their mark not only in popular
culture but also had an impact on major artists and avant-garde movements of the period.
In 1966, on different sides of the Atlantic, artists pioneered the use of slide and film
projections at live concerts; Andy Warhol at the New York discotheque Dom and Mark Boyle
and Joan Hills at the legendary UFO Club in London. And the emergence of performance as a
major art form coincided with psychedelia's playful events in which the human body was
exploited as an integral and expandable perceptual instrument, stimulated to reach a state
of ecstatic frenzy or apathetic inward contemplation.
Offering a wealth of 350 items from the fields of painting, sculpture, photography,
film, video, environment, architecture, graphic design, and fashion, "Summer of
Love" comprises works by Isaac Abrams, Richard Avedon, Lynda Benglis, Bernard Cohen,
Richard Hamilton, Robert Indiana (his legendary "Love" pictures), Yayoi Kusama,
Richard Lindner, and John McCracken. One of the major environments of the show is Mati
Klarwein's "New Aleph Sanctuary" (1963-1971), which brings together many of
his motifs (which he also used in his designs for Santana album covers) in a spectacular
installation. Vernon Panton's amorphous walk-in furniture landscapes unfold Utopian
visions of liberated and relaxed living. Works by Archigram, Hans Hollein, Haus-Rucker-Co
and others convey an impression of what visionary architecture is about.
A special emphasis of the presentation is placed on environments as well as film,
video and multimedia installations replicating the total experience of psychedelic light
shows and music performances. Andy Warhol employed light shows and film and slide
projections for the "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" and "The Velvet
Underground." Major film installations include a room with multiple projections of
Mark Boyle and Joan Hills' films, first used in light shows for the psychedelic band
"The Soft Machine" and a liquid crystal projection by Gustav Metzger. The medium
of film is integrated into the exhibition through large-scale projections of works by
Lawrence Jordan, Stan VanDerBeek, Andy Warhol, James Whitney, Jud Yalkut, and Nam June
Paik. The documentary sections of "Mapping the Underground" dedicated to the
psychedelic scenes in New York City, San Francisco, London, and Frankfurt outline the
historical background and portray the movement's protagonists such as the author Alle
n Ginsberg, the LSD guru Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, who dedicated himself to the
popularization of psychedelic drugs with his Merry Pranksters.
An exhibition organised by Tate Liverpool in cooperation with the Schirn Kunsthalle
Frankfurt and the Kunsthalle Wien. The exhibition was shown in Liverpool (27 May - 25
September 2005) and will be presented in Vienna (12 May - 3 September 2006) after the
Schirn (2 November 2005 - 12 February 2006).
"DOTS OBSESSION/LOVE FOREVER": In advance of the exhibition the Schirn
Kunsthalle Frankfurt, in cooperation with the Galeria Kaufhof, Frankfurt, is presenting a
large-scale work by Yayoi Kusama on the facade and in the display windows of the Galeria
Kaufhof on Frankfurt's Hauptwache in the town centre. In the work she developed for
Frankfurt, Dots Obsession/Love Forever, she covers the entire outer surface of the
department store with her colorful dots, producing a painting on a scale larger than
anything she has done before. The spectacular presentation continues in the Galeria's
display windows. Inflatable balloons that recall oversized fly agaric mushrooms float
above the main entrance behind multistory windows, bringing the ecstatically scattered
dots inside the building. In the windows some of the mannequins are hidden behind a dot
pattern that monopolizes the entire space. The shop window dummies only return just under
two weeks later, wearing the new fall collection at the Galeria Kaufhof.
Another part of Yayoi Kusama's work Dots Obsession/Love Forever will be shown in
the rotunda of Schirn in parallel with the exhibition Summer of Love, from 2 November 2005
to 12 February 2006.
WEBSITE: In addition, a website will go online with the beginning of the show under
. It will offer the possibility to navigate through the
years from 1938 to 1972 along a chronology structured after art, music, society, and
literature. Users have the option to defamiliarize the various pages visually with
psychedelic effects. The website was developed and realized by Neue Digitale GmbH.
Kreativagentur für digitale Markenführung, who also act as media partner of the
CATALOG: "Summer of Love. Art of the Psychedelic Era." Edited by Christoph
Grunenberg, Tate Liverpool. With a preface by Christoph Grunenberg, Max Hollein, and
Gerald Matt, as well as texts by Joe Austin, Barry Curtis, Diedrich Diederichsen, Günther
Feuerstein, Christoph Grunenberg, Dave Hickey, Uwe Husslein, Chrissie Iles, Barry Miles,
Markus Mittringer, Simon Reynolds, Catherine Sadler, Sally Tomlinson, and Fred Tomaselli.
English and German editions, 273 pages, 276 color and 47 black-and-white illustrations,
Tate Publishing Millbank, ISBN 1 85437 595 4 (English), Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern
2005, ISBN 3-7757-1670-X (German)
DIRECTOR: Max Hollein
CURATOR: Christoph Grunenberg, Tate Liverpool
OPENING HOURS: Tue, Fri-Sun 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Wed and Thur 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
PRESS CONTACT: Dorothea Apovnik, phone: (+49-69) 29 98 82-118, fax: (+49) 29 98
82-240, e-mail: presse(a)schirn.de, www.schirn.de
(texts and pictures for download under
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