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Poster, The Association – Along Comes Mary – Quicksilver Messenger Service – Grassroots, 1966
Wes Wilson
Poster, The Association – Along Comes Mary – Quicksilver Messenger Service – Grassroots,
Wes Wilson,

Poster, The Association – Along Comes Mary – Quicksilver Messenger Service – Grassroots,
1966

Wes Wilson
*4033
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Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • The Association – Along Comes Mary – Quicksilver Messenger Service – Grassroots Wes Wilson
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In San Francisco during the colorful 1960s, psychedelic rock music embodied the rise of the counterculture. The music found its counterpart in a graphic art that was also under the influence of mind-bending drugs: Wes Wilson’s (b. 1937) concert poster from 1966 is both emotionally seductive and visually challenging.

The self-taught graphic designer Wes Wilson was one of the most influential pioneers of the psychedelic San Francisco rock poster. Always on the lookout for new inspiration, he experimented with drugs to help him put his musical experiences into pictures. “A lot of people are poets, real or imagined, and they like to see visual poetry set into poster formats as much as they like songs with great lyrics,” said Wilson, who was especially notable for his extremely creative handling of lettering. At first sight, his concert poster seems to derive its appeal from its expressive form and the almost painful contrast between the two complementary colors. That this picture of a blazing flame is made up of twisting and turning letters only becomes apparent upon closer scrutiny. With their wild contortions the letters recall the ecstatic dancing to the rock music being played at the Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore Auditorium. An important source of inspiration for Wilson’s type design was the Viennese Secessionist Alfred Roller (1864–1935), whose Künstlerische Schrift (Artistic Typeface) of 1900 Wilson discovered at the legendary exhibition at the University of California, Berkeley, entitled Jugendstil & Expressionism in German Posters. By eschewing immediate legibility, the San Francisco rock poster indicated that it was designed only for the initiated and thus acquired its subversive potential. Soon, however, commercial graphic artists were appropriating this style of poster art, leading to a drop in quality in the late 1960s that finally spelled its end. (Bettina Richter)

Plakat, The Association – Along Comes Mary – Quicksilver Messenger Service – Grassroots, 1966
Erscheinungsland: USA
Gestaltung: Wes Willson
Auftrag: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, US
Material/Technik: Offset
51 × 35.5 cm
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK
Literatureo

Kastor, Jacaeber (Hg.), The Art of the Fillmore. The Poster Series 1966–1971, New York 1999

Image creditso

Plakat, The Association – Along Comes Mary – Quicksilver Messenger Service – Grassroots, 1966, USA, Gestaltung: Wes Willson
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Künstlerische Schrift, Waltraud – Lourdes (…), 1900, Gestaltung: Alfred Roller
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK