Peace: Love, Rock and Revolution, Photographs by Jim Marshall (1936-2010) at ACA Galleries

Art Scene

Peace: Love, Rock and Revolution, Photographs by Jim Marshall (1936-2010) at ACA Galleries

The 1960s and 1970s were among the most epic decades in 20th century America. An era of protest and rebellion, the period marked the coming out of all types of movements and cultural shifts. The circulation of images documenting civil rights marches and abuses, anti-war protests, workers’ rights, and women’s liberation helped fuel the spread of these ideas to the masses, along with one of the most powerful tools of the day, music.

Photographer Jim Marshall was on the front lines of sonic culture during the period, documenting the Summer of Love, the hippie movement, and the birth of psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll. In Peace: Love, Rock and Revolution, Photographs by Jim Marshall (1936-2010) at ACA Galleries, several of his iconic images are on view alongside quieter documentary work.

Jim Marshall (1936 – 2010), Jimi Hendrix Playing a Free Concert in Panhandle, San Francisco, 1967

Despite his use of a visual language, Marshall considered himself a journalist and anthropologist, capturing a particular moment in time grounded in the culture of music. His legendary images of rock superstars as they rose to fame, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead, ultimately became so ubiquitous in popular culture that he was honored with a Trustees Award by The Grammys for his life’s work.

Jim Marshall (1936 – 2010), Carlos Santana “Hero Shot”, San Francisco, California, 1969

On the ground and in culture, capturing images backstage, during free outdoor concerts or in dimly lit music halls, Marshall’s work offers an insider’s perspective full of the emotional revelry of a passionate fan. However, in this exhibition, previously unseen images that capture the now internationally recognized peace symbol are also featured. The images capture the movement of the symbol from an anti-nuclear statement to a universal comment on peace as it’s depicted handwritten on walls, mailboxes, paraphernalia, and buildings across the country. Marshall’s peace photographs are captured in a book accompanying the exhibition, Peace, with a foreword by street artist Shepard Fairey and and afterword by folk singer Joan Baez.

Shepard Fairey, Gun Culture

A series of five prints, American Civics, by Fairey are included in the show as well. The works re-interpret five of Marshall’s classic photos, including ones of Johnny Cash, Cesar Chavez and Fannie Lou Chaney. In the series, Fairey contextualizes the photographs for contemporary viewers through a layered collage style presentation. The works on Voting Rights, Mass Incarceration, Workers’ Rights, Gun Culture and Two Americas, incorporate newspaper clippings, FBI materials, graphics, and Marshall’s portraits into 4-color serigraph prints in Fairey’s signature tonal color palette – reds, whites, and black.

Jim Marshall (1936 – 2010), Muddy Waters Smoking During a Recording Session at the Boardinghouse Club, San Francisco, California, 1965

The relevance of this exhibition’s conversations on peace and human rights through images will not be lost on viewers. However, the power of the musical landscape of the 60s and 70s and its engagement with social issues may feel like a distant memory in comparison to today’s popular sounds.

Peace: Love, Rock and Revolution, Photographs by Jim Marshall (1936-2010) at ACA Galleries is on view through September 30, 2017.