200 color plates, 50 figs.

Dreams Unreal

The Genesis of the Psychedelic Rock Poster
By Titus O’Brien



Honorable Mention for Art in 2020 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards

The music scene that sprang up across the Bay Area from 1965 to 1970 was energetic, immensely creative, and loudly outspoken. Bands needed theaters to play in, music promoters needed to get the word out about the shows, and a group of talented young artists producing dreamy, free-form work needed a medium of expression. Thus was born the psychedelic rock poster, one of the most explosively inventive, instantly recognizable, and profoundly influential aesthetic movements of the last century. A group of young visual artists provided perfectly trippy visuals to accompany soundtracks by bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, the Doors, and many more. These artists—including Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Bonnie Maclean, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson, and others created a new artistic genre: the collectible rock concert poster. Some are household names today while others are largely forgotten, but the poster art that gave visual life to the amazing music lives on in Dreams Unreal.

Published in association with the Albuquerque Museum.

Contributor Bios
Artist, writer, and curator Titus O’Brien has exhibited his work internationally as well as curated exhibitions for a range of for- and nonprofit art spaces. He has taught studio art, art history, and creative writing at the University of Texas, Columbia College Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among other institutions. As a curator at the Albuquerque Museum, his exhibitions included Hard Edge Abstraction, Spirit of Creation: Works by Contemporary Native American Artists, The Taos Moderns, and Dreams Unreal.