If you're a deadhead or have one in the family, we've found the perfect holiday gift for you. "Art of The Dead," released this month by Counterpoint Press, showcases the vibrant poster art that emerged in San Francisco in the mid-1960s.
The coffee table book tells the story of poster art through the Grateful Dead, which frequently partnered with artists, and offers a chronological evolution of the art from the band's beginning in 1965 through Jerry Garcia's death in 1995. The book includes interviews and profiles of the decade's biggest artists, including Rick Griffin, Stanley "Mouse" Miller, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso. It also offers essays by Greil Marcus, Mickey Hart and Peter Coyote.
But the real treat here is the four-color, iconic images contained in the book, which "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," according to author Phil Cushway, owner of Artrock, the most extensive collection of rock posters in the world. Over the years, Cushway has published over 500 prints for bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead.
Ultimately, "Art of the Dead" argues that poster art is truly an original form of American fine art.