My husband and I just enjoyed a few days of fun and relaxation all while exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco. If you follow me on Instagram you saw some of the delicious food and drinks that we enjoyed. San Francisco is only 90 minutes from our home – so we get up there often. We both love all that the city has to offer.
The Summer of Love Experience at the de Young in San Francisco
On this trip we stopped by the de Young Museum to view the Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll. The summer of love happened 50 years ago in 1967 in the city by the bay. Young people from all over the country converged into the streets and parks of San Francisco. This social movement was born out of a resistance to the war, and out of a shared paradigm of free love, music, LSD, and acceptance of all.
While somewhat anthropological, this is first and foremost an art exhibit – a walk through and you will see the bright and swirly colors of the concert posters, the beautiful and ethnic inspired clothing, and hear the musical sounds of the the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airship, and other bands that were promoted by Bill Graham.
One room was wallpapered in concert posters with other posters framed in clear acrylic standing in front. The colors are bright; sitting side by side you will notice that much of the writing can be hard to read. The audio recording that I listened to while meandering the museum said that this was intentional. Those that had experienced LSD – the legal drug of the era – could make sense of the droopy lettering. Making the outsiders of the movement unable to make sense of the posters.
Music was central to the summer of 67 and you will hear many songs as you travel though the exhibit. You may even want to stop and enjoy the psychedelic room. Pull up a bean bag, they even have fuzzy ones, sit and watch the walls swirl and spin bright colors to the beat of the music.
While the art and music were both vibrant, my favorite part of the show was the fashion. I love vintage clothing! While I am not a child of the sixties – I most definitely enjoyed many fringe vests, and I loved my long jean skirt made from recycled Levi jeans.
I would love any piece in this collection! My husband said he could totally see me in the peace sign dress. Me too!
I walked away from this exhibit with a greater appreciation not only for the art of the time, but for the history itself. Every display was accompanied with the historical background – giving the art context within the movement. Many of the young ones taking part in the Summer of Love were run-aways. Kids that fled their homes and families. Leaving many parents searching for their children. One photo showed the bulletin board of missing children in the local police station. The board was covered with school photos and snapshots of kids accompanied with letters from parents.
A local health clinic became a must sought service to help people deal with addiction and bad LSD trips. A bulletin board filled with letters and poetry was left behind in one store. There was a strong sense of community and a shared vision for the future.
I love the way the de Young makes a direct connection from the Summer of Love to today. Right off the bat, when you walk up to the museum you will see fake street signs of 2107 and 1967 marking the intersections of Marriage Equality and Free Love; Hipster and Hippie; and Black Lives Matter and Civil Rights Movement.
There is so much to see – I highly recommend a visit to the de Young in San Francisco to see The Summer of Love Experience. Now showing through August 20, 2017.
Have you had a chance to see this exhibit yet? What did you think?