“Woodstock in History and Memory”—that’s the name of the panel I’ll be on as part of Researching New York 2019: A Conference on New York State History on Saturday, November 23 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at the New York State Museum. I’ll be showing photos of the paintings I brought to the original Woodstock Festival in 1969.
The panel’s moderator will be Gerald Zahavi, a UAlbany history professor who was at the original festival, as was Mark Berger, who has published a memoir about his experiences. Julia Fell, Assistant Curator of the Museum at Bethel Woods, will complete the panel, and I’m especially excited to get the chance to share my work with her. Who knows, they may be interested in sowing my paintings there.
The invitation to participate came about as a result of Paul Grondahl’s article in the Albany Times Union as well as my exhibit at the NYS Writers Institute’s Book Expo at SUNY Albany in September. Paul, who’s the director of the Institute, put me in touch with the people putting the three-day conference together, and our panel is the closing plenary session, so they must consider the Woodstock Festival pretty special. Either that, or they’re delighted to feature a session where those who experienced this piece of history are still alive and able to share their memories.
Here are some of the paintings I showed at Woodstock, and one I didn’t:
From top to bottom:
Paul McCartney as Superman
A previous version was a poster designed for a contest run by WABC in New York City tied in to a Broadway production of “Superman,” around 1967 when my Beatles obsession was at its height. “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!” The Byrd at the upper left is Roger McGuinn, and the woman boarding the plane is also “a bird”–slang for women in the Sixties. She’s climbing aboard to fly to England and Paul, her Superman.
Design for a ski poster
Commissioned by a friend of a friend, for a flat fee of $100. I still have the painting, but the poster was ripped off and reprinted by a firm in China I never heard of. A friend noticed it on eBay, and now it’s showing up on Amazon along with my books, but I still haven’t made any more money from it.
Jimi Hendrix — two views with miscellaneous additions
Typical of my style in the late 1960’s, with complex compositions of multiple images. I sold quite a few of these back in the day, and Ivan Karp, a leading art dealer, predicted a great future for me, though he never exhibited my work.
Things got darker in 1970. The Beatles broke up. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died, and so did my mother, when she ws only 61. My painting style turned darker too, and I began blurring the contours with spray gun and air brush.
The painting below includes scenes from the making of “Gimme Shelter,” the Maysles Brothers’ brilliant documentary of the Rolling Stones’ 1969 tour, culminating in the disastrous concert at the Altamont Speedway, where the Hell’.s Angels provided “security” and a man was stabbed to death. The title reflects my feeling that things were heading downhill like an avalanche. That’s Frank Zappa playing the harp.
After a bleak period of depression, things began looking up, first with the advent of feminism in the art world and then when I met my husband-to-be in 1973. But my painting was never again as sunny as it was in the 1960’s.