August 15th marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the most legendary rock concert of the Sixties. This poster has become equally famous as a memento of the weekend’s breathtaking musical lineup and its total freedom from violence. It perfectly expressed in one symbol – a white dove on a guitar – what Woodstock was about. Despite its lengthy text, the captivating poster and ultimately the event itself seemed to transcend all the turbulence of the era.
The poster is filled with a treasure trove of fun facts – the $18 3-day ticket price, the list of performers from Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Joan Baez and many others, as well as “dozens of curious food and fruit combinations to experiment with.” Imagine if the organizers had allowed the Beatles to perform (they rejected John Lennon’s condition that Yoko Ono’s band be invited as well) and had Bob Dylan not backed out because of his sick son!
This is actually the second “official” Woodstock poster. It was created due to a licensing problem that required the concert to be relocated at the last moment from Walkill to Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. The psychedelic style of the first poster was replaced by a more subdued and peaceful message so the event would not be banned again.
Skolnick was a successful art director on Madison Avenue who contracted this job on the side. His instincts were right on the mark. The poster was produced in 2 sizes – a bus and trolley size with a glossy finish on stiff paper, and a larger billboard size. Skolnick was “on print” to supervise their production, and can explain every unusual detail including why the bird has a black beak and why it is a 4 (rather then 3) color offset. The gallery is pleased to have originals in both sizes from the concert (not reproductions) for sale including the artist’s hand signed signature.
Ten year ago International Poster Gallery hosted a 40th Woodstock Anniversary party with Arnold in attendance. For the event, he created a limited edition poster that pays homage to the many turbulent themes and events of the late 1960s. It is also available and handsigned.