Love and war
It's the kind of interesting juxtaposition that probably just happens by accident every once in a while in a museum as expansive a collection as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Climb the steps to the third floor and you'll first find yourself exploring a set of ancient armor and weapons. Things like swords, chain mail, gauntlets.
Entombed in a glass exhibit case is a metal mask and helmet. Just think about someone suiting up in this stuff 500 years ago, hoping it would protect his head from getting bashed inside out during battle.
Then, a few more steps and you're surrounded by the images of peace, love and rock ‘n' roll.
“San Francisco Psychedelic” is a pair of exhibitions of photographs and poster art from the Bay area in the mid-1960s.
The first room features album covers and 60 photos of some of the movement's seminal bands, including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Another nearby room features 28 posters designed for two of San Francisco's main venues at the time, the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium.
As musicians took folk and blues and bent it into a new sound with the addition of electric instruments, feedback, and lengthy, experimental jams, photographers were documenting the scene. Many of the photos in the exhibition are from the museum's permanent collection.
The photos are mostly black and white. They were taken in the studio, on location or during live performances and aimed to capture the group dynamics, personalities and energy of the music.
Highlights in the collection include a multiple-exposure color image of Janis Joplin by rock ‘n' roll photographer Jim Marshall and a more formal black-and-white image of Jefferson Airplane by the portraitist Herb Greene.
The soundtrack is also available at an audio station in the center of the room.
The posters are marked by intense colors, dense imagery and hand-drawn lettering. Unlike, conventional posters designed to convey their message quickly, these can take a little time to decipher.
Local collectors Paul Maurer and Scott West lent all the posters on display for San Francisco Psychedelic.
“San Francisco Psychedelic” runs through June 10 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Ave. S. www.artsmia.org. 870-3131. Free.