The Bahr Gallery’s Psychedelic Rock Poster Art History Experience

Those who had looked forward to the current NY Historical Society Exhibit “Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution” can enjoy The Bahr Gallery’s online exhibition of dozens, maybe hundreds of museum quality representations of the art of that era, the psychedelic rock poster.

The bookshelf at The Bahr Gallery.

The Bahr Gallery is located in sleepy, timeless Oyster Bay, NY. I’m pleased to have a neighbor like Ted Bahr, who is a cordial host.

Close up in the bright gallery back in October, our party was mesmerized by the detail of works like Rick Griffin’s Grateful Dead poster “Aoxomoxoa-1969.” You don’t have to be a Boomer or a Deadhead to see the artist’s vision of the cycle of birth and death in the iconic piece. I had seen the image many times, but never really saw it before.

The Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso Dual Retrospective (March 7 – May 30, 2020) is currently hanging in the gallery. It can be seen one piece at a time on The Bahr Gallery website. Soon I found myself lusting after these first printing original lithographs, which are for sale, at around $1500 and up, framed. “The vast majority of our inventory consists of rare, first-edition posters that were printed before the concerts and used to sell tickets to the events.” The ephemeral nature of these objects make good condition copies rare. The era only lasted from 1966-1970, and was dominated by five artists in San Fransisco, including Griffin, Wilson and Moscoso.

To experience this art virtually, there is nothing like Bahr’s representation of his museum quality pieces and their educational descriptions. He loaned seven to the current NY Historical Society Exhibit “Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution”.  If collecting is an art, then Bahr is a master.

Stephanie Cole’s Revealing Assemblages

Stephanie Cole created mixed media works for over 50 years, but has only recently begun to show them. I was fortunate to see “Secular Cathedral” at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts on January 25, 2020. It was a randomly chosen outing on a gloomy weekend visit to the Boston suburb. Fuller Craft is a sprawling, spare, modern space, in its 50th year. Yellow traffic safety signs fronting the museum humorously read “Caution Art.” What I discovered on the exhibit’s opening day was unexpected.

Cole’s three most recent works At Fuller Craft.

Cole reassembles found objects, shells, broken treasures, marbles and textiles into life size 3D self-portraits, stained glass windows and other earthy assemblages. The pieces speak to her personal memories in their long reach through time, yet she does not take herself too seriously. The words “loaned for amusement only” are carved into the wooden frame of “Royal Reliquary” which contains the artist’s DNA. Cole says she “paints with objects” and is interested in “language before words.” Though I live 200 miles away, I purchased tickets for the opening reception, now on hold.

Cole’s daughters convinced her to publicly exhibit her work. One is singer Paula Cole, whose gig backing up Peter Gabriel inspired “The Rock Concert,” not shown at Fuller. It can be experienced in a video by Copper Hound Pictures, featuring concert footage, and the artist’s story of creating the seven foot tall stained-glass memory of one night in London. Click on “The Rock Concert” in Cole’s virtual gallery:

Coincidentally, one of my paper collages, done 20 years ago, features a magazine photo of Paula Cole, reaching above a sea toward the moon. I took it out of storage and placed it on my private altar, into the light this artist inspires, a light for all who quietly continue making art.