The psychedelic movement emerged in American counterculture as a response to the political and sociological climate created by the Vietnam War and the growing popularity of hallucinogenic drugs, advocated for by the Beat Generation before it.
In particular, LSD – or acid – served as a catalyst for the movement, providing users with altered perceptions of reality, more vivid sensory experiences and a sense of connection with nature and one another.
Meanwhile, a transition in album cover design occurred as a result of the new experiences and perceptions produced through the use of psychedelic drugs.
These altered states of reality inspired bands and cover designers to create an integrated audio-visual experience. Suddenly, the popular music album covers featuring photographs of the bands or artists were replaced by an explosion of psychedelic designs.
Distinguishing features of psychedelic art include the use of vivid colors flowing organic patterns, energetic designs, strange or fantastic subject matter and the joining of disparate times and culture through photo montage. The influences of the pop art, art nouveau and surrealism movements are strongly reflected through the characteristic designs of psychedelic era album cover art.
Journey back to the flower power era with students in ART 655 Curatorial Practice class, who are presenting “Strange Days: Vinyl Aesthetics of the Psychedelic Era.” The exhibition housed in Gallery 214 of the NIU Visual Arts Building, from Monday, Nov. 30, through Friday, Dec. 11. A public reception is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.
The exhibition is curated by Carmin Berchiolly, Rebeka Jakobson and Keith Ulrich, students in Curatorial Practice, a core course in the NIU Interdisciplinary Certificate of Graduate Study in Museum Studies, taught by Peter Van Ael.
For more information, call (815) 753-4521 or email JackOlsonGallery@gmail.com.