April 28, 2005 - Tate Liverpool - Summer of Love Art of the Psychedelic Era
April 28, 2005

Summer of Love Art of the Psychedelic Era

Isaac Abrams, All Things Are One Thing, 1967, Oil on canvas, (C) Isaac Abrams, Photo: Alvan Meyerowitz   

Summer of Love
Art of the Psychedelic Era

27 May – 25 September 2005

Tate Liverpool
Albert Dock
Liverpool, UK
T 00 44 151 702 7400


Psychedelia constitutes one of the most exciting but neglected phenomena of twentieth century art, culture and history. Summer of Love is a ground-breaking and visually spectacular exhibition exploring psychedelic art from the 1960s and early 1970s, presenting it as an international phenomenon with works from the UK, United States, Europe and Japan. It demonstrates how artists were deeply entrenched in popular culture, influenced by the mind-altering effect of drugs and participated in counter-cultural activities. The inclusion of psychedelic art created by major figures such as Andy Warhol and Yayoi Kusama illustrates the critical role of psychedelia within the contemporary aesthetic discourse, providing a complex and more comprehensive picture of the art and culture of the 1960s.

The psychedelic aesthetic manifested itself in all aspects of cultural production, ranging from art, music and film to architecture, graphic design and fashion. Summer of Love presents a rich selection of over 150 important posters, album covers and underground magazines, in particular from the San Francisco and London scenes. The exhibition includes paintings, photographs and sculptures by, amongst others, Isaac Abrams, Richard Avedon, Lynda Benglis, Harold Cohen, Richard Hamilton, Robert Indiana (his celebrated Love signs), Richard Lindner and John McCracken. Numerous long-neglected artists are represented with rarely seen or specially reconstructed works and installations. Major environments include Mati Klarwein’s New Aleph Sanctuary 1963-71, 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 colourful and amorphous furniture landscape tell of utopian visions of liberated and relaxed living.

A special emphasis 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 appropriated the use of light shows and film and slide projection for the Exploding Plastic Inevitable and Velvet Underground. Major film installations include a room with multiple projections of the Boyle Family’s 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 and an accompanying film programme with underground, experimental and mainstream films. Films presented in the exhibition include works by Lawrence Jordan, Stan Vanderbeek, Andy Warhol, James Whitney, Jud Yalkut and Nam June Paik.

The art in the exhibition is contextualised through a wealth of documentary material, highlighting the events, people and places in four centres of countercultural activity: San Francisco, New York, London and Liverpool. The sections include photographs, films of concerts and light shows. The underground press, emerging during the 1960s as an instrument of alternative communication and democratisation, is represented through Oz magazine, International Times, East Village Other and The San Francisco Oracle and many other publications and documents. Providing an intriguing picture of a period in fundamental moral and political upheaval, they are also testament to an extraordinary burst of creativity and revolution in design and printing techniques.

Summer of Love
Colourful, thought-provoking, eclectic, yet readable, Summer of Love is the definitive guide to the art of the psychedelic era. Richly illustrated, the book presents a wide range of images of art works, alongside a number of informative essays. The international list of contributors includes Chrissie Iles, Simon Reynolds, Barry Miles and Barry Curtis. The catalogue is available in all Tate Shops and at www.tate.org.uk

Distortions: Psychedelia and Social Crisis
Friday 27 May
11.00am onwards
Psychedelia impacted upon music, the arts, design and fashion. Join Jonathan Harris, Barry Curtis, Cally Blackman, Stuart Laing, Chrissie Iles and George McKay amongst others to explore how the climate of social and political upheaval affected a range of cultural disciplines.
Booking essential. Call the box office 0151 702 7400.

Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008

Tate Liverpool
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