Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, presents a comprehensive retrospective about the life and career of rock impresario Bill Graham (1931–1991). The exhibition opens by telling the story of Graham’s early life, with indication of how that early life influenced who he became and the contributions he made in his later years. The exhibit also tells a biographical story of a segment of rock and roll, beginning with the “summer of love,” covering the 60s, 70s and 80s and culminating with Graham’s death in 1991. Bill Graham was instrumental in launching the careers of countless rock and roll legends, in bringing the best of rock to large audiences, but also in raising money to benefit humanitarian causes.
There are volumes of images, music, video clips and ephemera, from the private Graham family archive and other lenders, on display. A few highlights include: Irving Penn’s photograph of Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Grateful Dead; the psychedelic posters of the 60s; Carlos Santana’s guitar; an Andy Warhol painting of Mick Jagger; and a gallery filled with streaming music of the time. We are all so influenced by music; you can find your own points of inspiration in this blast from the past.
Be sure to see—and hear—Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, through July 5 at the CJM.
Robert Wedemeyer, Note from Donovan to Bill Graham, San Francisco, November 1967. Offset print with inscribed ink. Collection of Robert Wedemeyer.
Herb Greene, The Grateful Dead, Haight-Ashbury, 1967. Chromogenic print. Frame: 20 5/8 x 20 ¼ in. Courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center.