Welcome to the Bahr Gallery News!
As we have grown since opening our doors in April 2018, it’s time to let you know what’s happening at The Bahr and share interesting stories, books, insights and upcoming events in a professional newsletter.
First, we hope that you and your family are well. The Bahr Gallery family is fine and word is that we will be opening soon. Right now we are open by appointment and starting this weekend will be open with restrictions (no more than 6 people in at once, wear masks) generally in afternoons 1-6. It's best to contact us and we will make sure we're there!
Bahr Gallery News will be sent to you once every 2-3 weeks at most, so it will be a light touch in your in-box. If you live near the physical Gallery you will still get occasional e-mail reminders of upcoming live music, art openings, book signings and other live events as they approach and this newsletter includes a section on those upcoming events.
Given that our inventory is now online, don’t be bashful as we can wrap up a piece and bring it out to your car or deliver to your home and drop it off in an appropriate manner and place. Plus, we will gladly ship anywhere in the US. If we’re stuck inside anyway, why not bring the music home to your walls!
Any and all feedback on the Newsletter and the Bahr Gallery is always appreciated. Stay Safe, Ted (the) Bahr
RIP Wes Wilson, Father of the Psychedelic Poster
Wes Wilson, one of the Big Five San Francisco poster artists and generally considered the originator of the psychedelic poster form died on January 24, 2020 at the age of 82. Wilson effectively translated the sights and sounds of San Francisco’s counterculture society and music scene into the psychedelic iconography that endures today among the era's most indelible images.
Wilson drew throughout childhood and attended San Francisco State University. While working at Contact Printing, a small San Francisco press, he produced handbills for the Mime Troupe Appeal parties produced by concert promoter and impresario Bill Graham in late 1965. The Trips Festival staged during late January 1966 was among the events publicized by a Wilson flyer; he also attended the event, and the combination of music, drugs, and love impacted him deeply.
Wilson’s layouts and designs for handbills quickly established him as a poster designer. When the Avalon Ballroom (where shows were typically produced by Chet Helms and The Family Dog) and Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium began to hold weekly dance concerts in the spring of 1966, Wilson was called upon to design the posters advertising them.
By the middle of the year Wilson stopped producing materials for Helms altogether, preferring instead the creative freedom offered by working for Graham and his posters became increasingly experimental. By the summer he discovered the Viennese Secessionist lettering style of Alfred Roller and altered the style, rendering the letters almost indistinguishable from each other by expanding their outlines and minimizing their interiors. This became his hallmark lettering style and it is memorialized today by a font library in his name.
Wilson drew his first nude for a series of Labor Day concerts in 1966 and that also became a trademark of his later work. Wilson's style quickly moved beyond the confines of the psychedelic subculture into the mainstream, resulting in profiles in Time, Life, and Variety, and even a Playboy Magazine cover but in May 1967 he stopped producing posters for Graham over a financial dispute about royalties. Wilson's early work was unique, but by mid-1967, so many artists had copied his style that he was easily replaced.
Wilson’s creations were more than just announcements of who was playing on a given evening, but bold visual statements that demanded the attention of the viewer. His lettering style, layout and playful use often clashing and contrasting colors defined the psychedelic style and reflected the dance concert experience.
The Spring Exhibition at the Bahr Gallery, featuring a retrospective of Wes Wilson’s early works and also those of fellow Big Five artist Victor Moscoso, has been extended through August.
Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution Exhibit
There’s a terrific exhibition of the life and times of rock and roll promoter and impresario Bill Graham at the New-York Historical Society Museum in New York City. The show opened in February and because of the lockdown has decided to extend the Exhibition through the end of 2020. It’s definitely worth the trip.
We went to the opening event in February as Bahr Gallery has 11 pieces on loan to the exhibition and we attended a panel with 4 members of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East team moderated by the co-author of Graham’s 1992 autobiography, Robert Greenfield. The whole event became a big Fillmore East reunion with plenty of crowd participation. We actually liked the idea of that so much that we plan to hold our own Fillmore East Reunions at the Bahr Gallery with Special Guests. Stay tuned!
Buying Vintage Poster Art Today
There are many reasons to consider buying a favorite first-edition psychedelic poster but the most important one is should always be that you love it. Or, a friend, business associate or spouse will love it. While a stock portfolio may provide financial security, vintage beautiful posters are going up in value and will brighten up your life every day, year after year.
This Spring has seen the slashing of each of our budgets for dining out, going to see live music, live sporting events, music festivals – heck, live anything! Those are extra dollars to consider using for a much more permanent form of satisfaction, a piece that you can enjoy on your wall for years to come.
Bahr Gallery makes it easy for you with carefully selected frames, nearly-invisible Museum Glass and a meticulously researched historical sketch putting your piece in context. We are also flexible with a layaway plan for 2, 3 or 4-month payment schedule to allow you to obtain this art more affordably. And while there are no guaranties from year-to-year, the first-edition psychedelic rock posters – most of them now 50 years old – are climbing in value.
Upcoming Events at The Bahr
We typically have an excellent line-up of events at Bahr Gallery. Naturally, everything must be considered tentative for now but here’s what we’ve got set up so far.
"Side by Side" Exhibition of posters and photography featuring the work of legendary Haight-Ashbury and Grateful Dead Photographer Herb Greene, Sept 12-October 11.
Phil Lesh & Friends Keyboardist Scott Guberman – Friday, October 9
3rd Annual Grateful Dead Exhibition featuring the 50th anniversary of American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead running Oct 23-Dec 24.
Grateful Dead Radio Hour Host and Musician David Gans returns for his 3rd meet, greet and performance at Bahr Gallery, Friday November 6
A Fillmore East Reunion event with Author and Photographer Amalie Rothschild, house photographer for the Fillmore East. Date TBD, 2021.