Ted Bahr, of the Bahr Gallery in Oyster Bay, has long prided himself on collecting first-edition, psychedelic rock posters, opening the gallery in 2018.
And he’s continuing his mission of preserving the glory days of the hippie movement through his newest gallery “The Hippie Ethos,” which will show off posters that announced concerts and promoted the hippie lifestyle. This exhibit will run through July 16.
“This is my passion and so the late 1960s psychedelic rock posters is all we do, all the time,” Bahr said. “This [exhibition] is a little bit different in that there are some rock posters, but there’s a lot of what I would call hippie lifestyle type of posters. Or they are also rock posters advertising concerts, but they give off the feeling of the hippie lifestyle. In other words, the way the hippies dressed and the way they behaved. This exhibition puts that on display.”
We all know the movement of the 1960s, a time that was fueled by marijuana and LSD.
“The ’60s such as we remember them (or not…) hosted a creative explosion in the arts, music and fashion, combined with a belief that the world could be born anew,” a press release announcing the exhibition described. “Characterized by the vivid, flowing colors of psychedelic art and music, and a belief that love was the solution to all problems, hippie culture set out to transform the world by rejecting every social, political, economic and aesthetic feature of mainstream Western society.”
Bahr said that the hippie ethos, or lifestyle, was a rejection of their parents’ generation. And despite his knowledge and love for this time period, he wasn’t old enough to truly experience it.
“I’m 64 years old and I just missed the sixties,” Bahr said. “I was too young, and sometimes the way nostalgia works is if you just miss a period, you feel like that’s the most exciting period in time… So, I’ve always been fascinated with the music and the culture of the late 1960s, which was really more at times a utopian period of peace and love and joy and optimism. A lot of people, certainly people that come into the gallery, talk about how the music from the late ’60s and the early ’70s was really the most powerful.”
How Bahr comes to find these posters is participating in online auctions. He does not buy posters through eBay.com, because often the seller does not know if they have a first edition poster. Bahr prides himself on being the only gallery to specialize in collecting the first printings of these posters. This exhibition will feature prominent late 1960s poster artists including Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Jacqui Morgan, Milton Glaser, Bonnie MacLean, Joe Roberts Jr., Robert Fried, Alan “Gut” Terk, Tom Weller, Bob Schnepf, Rick Griffin and Wilfried Satty.
When these posters were first printed, the press release explained, they often served as inexpensive art that the users could get stoned to, embrace Native American culture or Eastern religions, or protest the war to. They were used as a form of self-expression. And today, these posters will certainly immerse anyone who comes to the exhibition in a time that peace and love were celebrated, and an excitement was brewing over the fact that the world could possibly change.
“This psychedelic style of the late 1960s is recognized by museums around the world as a unique and important art form, so that will be on display in our gallery,” Bahr said.
Visit bahrgallery.com to learn more.