The Museum at Bethel Woods: ‘A Tale of Two Posters’
The moment one steps in to the main exhibit, “Byrd/Skolnick: A Tale of Two Posters,” the atmosphere is transformed. Instantly transported to the ‘60s, memories flooded my (once-a-hippie’s) mind as I began to soak up the visuals around every corner of the museum. The video walls boasting interviews with both artists are an important part of the experience, as they go into vivid detail on how the two vastly different posters were commissioned and created. Having been informed that neither Byrd nor Skolnick had ever met, I made a note to return on April 28, since the two will appear for the “Rock Art Poster Fair” and publicly take part in “A Conversation with Stephanie Plunkett.”
More than a year of preparation went into this exhibit, and Lawrence explained that this show is “the first scholarly installation that we’ve done from scratch,” peppering our tour with anecdotal references to the project’s roots, as we paused to examine the timeline of artwork that the original posters spawned. From images advertising “Livestock” (one day of music and comedy) to “Piestock” to Snoopy’s little feathered friend created by Charles Schultz (www.schulzmuseum.org), the seemingly endless array of Woodstock-inspired sketches, paintings, postcards and books unfolds before the visitors, dizzying in scope, rich in history.
Slightly overwhelmed, I collected myself and picked up some written materials on my way out, still tingling with excitement over the many surprises that this exhibit holds in store for those who visit. The press release reads, in part: “This special exhibit brings together over 150 items that show the broad range of Byrd’s and Skolnick’s artwork: Broadway shows, television, movies, impressionistic oil paintings, fine art compilations and sensitive photographs of erotic nudes.” Who knew? True to their word, “this exhibition is a must-see for every Woodstock fan, collector, art historian or teacher,” and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
On display from April 1 through July 22, the retrospective is sure to capture the hearts of those who revisit the ‘60s experience, as well as a new generation of art lovers and pop culture enthusiasts who are just discovering the deeply layered history that San Francisco’s 1967 “summer of love” ignited throughout our nation and around the globe. For more information, visit the Bethel Woods website or call 866/781-2922.