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The Genesis Of The Psychedelic Rock Poster

Albuquerque Museum, gift of Dr. James Gunn
Bob Schnepf BG84: Lothar & The Hand People, The Doors, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band; Sept. 29, 30, Denver 1967, offset lithograph on paper, 20 × 14 in. (50.8 × 35.6 cm)";

In the early years, rock 'n' roll posters were pretty basic -- large legible print, studio photos of the performers and one or two primary colors as accent.  In the 1960s, responding to changes in music and society, there was an explosion of new ideas about what a rock poster could be.  An outstanding collection of these posters, Dreams Unreal, is on display through April 12 at the Albuquerque Museum.

The rise of the psychedelic drug culture was a major influence on this new look, says Titus O'Brien, the exhibit's curator as well as the author of the accompanying book from UNM Press.  "All of the artists were inspired to start putting things together in unexpected ways.  Pack as much as you can into it and make it compelling and interesting to look at.  That was certainly the psychedelic philosophy."

In this longer version of the interview, Titus O'Brien talks about some of the important artists featured in Dreams Unreal, including Wes Wilson, who passed away on January 24, 2020, after the interview was taped.


Spencer Beckwith reports on the arts for KUNM. For ten years, until March of 2014, Spencer was the producer and host of KUNM's "Performance New Mexico," a weekday morning arts program that included interviews with musicians, writers and performers. Spencer is a graduate of the acting program at the Juilliard School, and, before moving to New Mexico in 2002, was for many years a professional actor based in New York City.