You Say You Want A Revolution: Remembering the 60s

Any excuse to visit the New York Public Library is a good excuse. And this exhibition featuring material exclusively from the Library’s collections, on show on the ground floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main Library branch in Bryant Park, was also an excellent lunch-time break. It was summertime and the livin’ was easy (in retrospect).

Terry Southern
The novelist, screenwriter and essayist Terry Southern was one of postwar America’s foremost satirists. Tom Wolfe credits him with having pioneered the New Journalism with the publication of ”Twirling at Ole Miss” in the February 1963 issue of Esquire. In addition to his satirical novels Candy (1958), based on Voltaire’s Candide, and The Magic Christian (1959), Southern is best known for his screenplays for the Counterculture classics Dr. Strangelove (1964) and Easy Rider (1969), the latter co-written with actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda. Candy, published by Olympia Press, was banned by the Paris vice squad. Its republication in the U.S., in 1965, made Southern both a mainstream and a Counterculture celebrity.

Selections from the United States Social Political Button Collection, dating from 1958 to the late 1970s.

Jay Belloli
Amerika is Devouring Its Children, 1970

Jay Belloli, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, created this poster for the school’s 1970 student strike protesting President Richard Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The image is based on painter Francisco de Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son (ca. 1820) and was silkscreened on computer listing paper.

The Stop Our Ship Movement, Oakland, CA, November 1971

On November 6, 1971, more than 300 sailors from the aircraft carrier Coral Sea marched in an antiwar demonstration in San Francisco. Six days later, from 600 to 1200 protesters demonstrated outside the naval air station in Alameda, California, encouraging servicemen to desert the ship before its departure for duty in the Vietnam War. The Berkeley City Council and 10 area churches offered sanctuary to any who did. Thirty-five sailors failed to report for duty prior to the sailing. This broadside calls for a show of unity with those servicemen, ”who have asked for a display of public support. Bring Flags. Bring friends.”

Anton Refregier
Napalm/Made in USA, 1968

Napalm was a chemical used heavily by the U.S. in the Vietnam War. It is a mixture of plastic polystyrene, hydrocarbon benzene and gazoline, which creates a jelly-like substance that, when ignited, adheres to virtually any surface and burns for as long as ten minutes, generating temperatures of 1,500 °F to 2,200 °F. Its effects on the human body are excruciating and almost always cause death. It was first used by U.S. troops with flamethrowers, to burn down sections of forest that provided cover for Viet Cong guerillas. Later, it was dropped as bombs, as were other incendiary devices. Images of civilians, including children, who had been burned by napalm fueled American revulsion against the war.

Arnold Skolnick
Woodstock, 1969

John Judkins
Bob Dylan
London: I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, 1969

I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet was a Notting Hill clothing boutique that achieved fame in 1966, the heyday of ”Swinging London”, by promoting vintage military uniforms as fashion. Among its customers were The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, and The Who. Jimi Hendrix bought his well-known hussar-style coat there. Peter Blake, who designed the album sleeve for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, reportedly got the idea for The Beatles’ outfits while passing by the shop, which also issued promotional posters, several by John Judkins.

Gay Liberation Front
Peter Hujar, photographer

Come Out!! Join the Sisters and Brothers of the Gay Liberation Front, New York ca. 1972-73

Reproduction of Jutta Werner’s Artwork in Fire, no. 2 (March 1968)  – detail

Reproduction from: Oracle/City of Los Angeles 1, no. 5 (August 1967)

Martin Sharp

Joe Petagno
Ain’t Gonna Work on Dizzy’s Farm No More (1970)

This poster, the title of which play on Bob Dylan’s anti-establishment song ”Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More”, depicts three of Disney’s most famous characters – Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Goofy – seated around a smoke-billowing hookah, filled, presumably, with hashish. Each smoker holds a mouthpiece, his eyelids drooping over bloodshot eyes and mouth agape. Disney Studios responded with a copyright-infringement lawsuit, resulting in the destruction of most of the print run. The poster is signed ”Petagno III”, the early signature of artist Joe Petagno, best known for his album covers for psychedelic and heavy-metal bands, including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Motörhead and Nazareth.

Martin Sharp
Blowin’ in the Mind/Mister Tambourine Man

The New York Public Library

August 16th, 2018

12 thoughts on “You Say You Want A Revolution: Remembering the 60s

  1. This wonderful collection struck a note with me. In ’68 my friend and I drove cross country. Among so many experiences over 11 days, we would feel the pulse of the counter-culture movement in LA; and again, the next night …in Haight-Ashbury. It was potent. It was stark, and it was two kids with an uncertain future feeling the movement. Contemplative awareness, questioning and social changes were all around us. It was 1968 and Viet Nam was raging. I would eventually get a high draft number. Tom would be drafted and unwillingly spend a year in hell. We both survived, of course but that time of our lives will live on forever. This link leads to day seven of our journey, which includes San Francisco. There-in are links for the whole series. I’d love to hear your comments. If the link fails, just google “Mvschulze The Great American Road-trip Day Seven”
    Thank you for this post. M 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes, I remember the posts about your EPIC trip; I’ve had to read again, of course, to refresh my memory. We drove the coast on the opposite direction, in 2017. Everything is so different now, and no more hippies in Haight-Ashbury! I can only imagine the vibrations then! And knowing you were drafted… you guys lived through this hell which we only know from t.v. and readings! What does ”a high draft number mean”? I looked it up: does it have something to do with a lottery?!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I should have said a high lottery number. It was just a matter of chance. I was exempt. It was not something to be proud about, as we shared the emotions of those who were in fact drafted. Tom, survived physically, but, as with many vets, has never quite escaped the emotional toll.
    Glad you experienced the Big Sur environs along the coast. I myself cherish the memories of that trip in 1968, and others in those precious years. Tom and I would do another, although much different adventure “…as far north as we could go” “A Northbound Adventure…”
    Hope you are well in this un-precedented time. M 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, I see now… I had no idea about the lottery prior to your comment – thanks for teaching me something new. I’m really sorry about your friend, this must have been hard on everyone all these years.
      We had to bypass Big Sur, it was closed to due landslides. And to think we planned this trip based on Big Sur! But it was great anyway, especially to us, first time visitors. I need to read (or re-read) your Great Adventures!
      We are doing well so far, had some minor issues which was suspect can be attributed to the virus, but since we were mild cases, there was no testing available. Let’s hope they won’t come back. I hope you and your family will be spared! Stay safe!


    1. Not at all! I enjoyed reading about some of your adventures – but not in 2008, it must have been ten years later. I think you sent me a link back in 2018 when I started posting about our West Coast road trip 🙂


  3. Yes, it was 2018. It’s difficult hitting the right keys with these surgical gloves! (Just kidding,) but not kidding about our thoughts for you and you’re well being during these trying times. M 😐

    Liked by 1 person


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