In a decade tormented by assassinations, riots and demonstrations, tens of thousands of people, predominantly youths, came together in San Francisco in 1967 to share love and the belief that humanity could live in peace. Now, the Bolinas Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with a museum-wide program, “Counter-Culture & Creativity,” opening Saturday, June 17.
The 1960s was a pivotal time for Marin, as citizens beat seemingly insurmountable odds to stop rampant development projects and preserve the county’s natural beauty, coastal villages and open landscape. In the 1970s, young people left universities and cities and flooded to the coast. They brought long hair, psychedelics, openly experimental lifestyles and a can-do spirit. They created both chaos and brilliant, lasting innovations. Some of this story is traced in the museum’s history room.
In the main gallery, “Art We Wear: Culture & Expression, 1960s to Today” looks at one of the creative elements of the counterculture. Besides engaging in social and political activism, young people of the era were on fire with original ideas, from music to farming. Untethered from conformity, clothing became a joyful exploration of self-expression, spurring a movement of sophisticated art meant not for viewing on walls but to envelop the wearer. This exhibition presents the creative process in handcrafted jewelry and garments, from a Point Reyes Station teenager’s embroidered shorts to astonishing works by leaders of the art-to-wear movement and many artists from our coastal communities.
This year is also the 50th anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine, established to bring attention to tremendous talents emerging in music. The timely photography gallery exhibition, “Eye Witness to a Cultural Revolution: Selections from the Jon Goodchild Collection,” features rarely-seen vintage photographs from the 1960s and 70s of emerging international icons of music, some by photographers who made photographic history. Goodchild, a former Bolinas resident, was the seminal art director for London’s Oz Magazine, British Rolling Stone, San Francisco Rolling Stone, and Straight Arrow Books.
In the gallery reserved for Coastal Marin artists, “Sue Taylor: Hand Knotted Rugs,” adds a playful texture to the combination of exhibitions. Taylor has created these Portuguese and Spanish-style rugs since she moved to West Marin in the 1960s.
The opening celebration on June 17 features live music by legendary singer Maria Muldaur and her Red Hot Bluesiana Band. The event is free, thanks to the generosity of community-minded supporters. The reception and talks by curators and artists start at 4 p.m., followed by music from 5 to 7 p.m. A shuttle will transport people to and from Mesa Park, next to the fire station, between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Take advantage of this comfortable service and avoid the difficult parking situation in town!
Elia Haworth is the curator of coastal Marin art and history for the Bolinas Museum.