Art Of The Dead

Author: Phil Cushway

Publication date : 2012

The Art of the Dead showcases the vibrant, charismatic poster art that emerged from the streets of San Francisco in 1964 and 1966. It traces the cultural, political, and historical influences of posters as art back to Japanese wood blocks through Bell Époque, on to the Beatniks, the Free Speech Movement, and the Acid Tests. Featuring interviews and profiles of the key artists, including Rick Griffin, Stanley “Mouse” Miller, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, and Victor Moscoso.

On his website for the book the author writes:

I am not a Deadhead, and this book is not about the Grateful Dead it is about the artists and their art. I have chosen the Grateful Dead, the famous band headed by the late Jerry Garcia, as a window into this vibrant and charismatic American folk art. The variety and volume of this art is daunting; focusing on a single band as a medium into this world simplifies the task.

Art of the Dead contains a diversity of material, posters ranging from the most rare to the most iconic. They have been chosen for reasons of historical importance, aesthetic merit, cultural significance, etc. There are also a great many examples of process materials, which were used during the creation and production of the final printed pieces. Years ago, I scoured many dumpsters and trash bins behind print shops looking for these process materials (bluelines, color keys, print­ing plates, etc.), which were routinely discarded as they had no financial value. This book is filled with many of these found items because I have always been invested in what they could tell us about the production process. To me, the value of these materials is not now and has never been monetary; the value is in what they can tell us about the production process.

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