A spectrum of illustrated rock album covers for The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Led Zeppelin’s very first album, The Who’s Tommy, The Grateful Dead, Santana, and Jethro Tull show the many varied styles in the field of illustration. Artist Heinz Edelmann created the art for the Yellow Submarine film, album, and film poster. Included in the exhibit will be a rare watercolor poster he created for the film’s release in Italy.
Norman Rockwell makes an unexpected appearance in this section with his only album cover, The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper. The musicians were Rockwell fans and requested the artist create their 1969 cover. Archival photos of Rockwell with Bloomfield and Kooper will also be on view.
Posters for new films in 1969, included a surprising number utilizing illustration. Hello, Dolly!, Paint Your Wagon, The Wrecking Crew, and other select works show stylistic graphic approaches that defined the era. Artist Richard Amsel uses a highly contemporary approach for the Hello Dolly! poster, greatly contrasting the film’s 1890s setting.
On view for the first time ever will be Basil Gogos’ original painting of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster, painted for Famous Monsters of Filmland. Considered one of Gogos’ most famous works, he created it in memoriam of Boris Karloff, who died in February of 1969. The Gogos Frankenstein image has been replicated millions of times over.
The exhibit will also include advertisements, magazine covers, and comic books, including The New Yorker, National Lampoon, Batman, Archie, and an Army manual illustrated by Will Eisner. Experimental works by noted illustrators of the era, including Lorriane Fox, Saul Steinberg, Al Parker, Bernie Fuchs, Jacqui Morgan, and Bascove, also on view, pushed the envelope in reaction to the traditional narrative illustration of earlier years. In Lou Glantzman’s cover for National Lampoon, as well as others, we see a nod to Norman Rockwell with humorous parodies.
In addition to picture books, children experienced illustration through animation in the revolutionary new children’s television series Sesame Street, which debuted in 1969 merging animation, puppets, and live actors to promote early childhood education in a playful setting. Joan Ganz Cooney founded the Children’s Television Workshop, producer of Sesame Street, with the goal of using the power of television to educate children. Realistically portraying the changing times, Sesame Street looked different than other kids’ shows with an inner city setting and ethnically diverse performers. Just a year after its launch, the show had received its first of over 100 Emmy Awards, and Big Bird was featured on the cover of Time magazine.
The powerful voice of the public was spurring change to Saturday morning cartoons. Protesting parent-run groups demanding less violence in children’s TV cartoons led to the cancellation of numerous programs. Soon-after, cartoon-giant Hanna-Barbera’s storywriters Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, and artist/character designer Iwao Takamoto developed the popular and long-lasting Saturday morning cartoon series featuring a dog named Scooby-Doo. The exhibition features a digital compilation of moving images from 1969 including youth programming and Saturday morning cartoons, television clips highlighting the moon landing, Woodstock, Vietnam, the World Series, celebrity interviews, concert footage, and film trailers.
Woodstock to the Moon: 1969 Illustrated takes the viewer on a visual journey through a highly transitional time reflected in the art of popular culture.
Celebrating Norman Rockwell Museum’s 50th Anniversary, Woodstock to the Moon: 1969 Illustrated is one in a suite of special exhibitions on view this year, being sponsored by Audrey and Ralph Friedner and TD Bank.
The Museum will feature related programs throughout the run of the exhibition with further details to be announced. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, visit www.nrm.org.