Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Psychedelic Art Happening at the Riverside Museum.

These photos were shot by photographer Yale Joel for Life Magazine, the September 9, 1966 cover story.  The headline was, "New Experience That Bombards the Senses:  LSD Art".  The funny thing is, it shows a museum field trip group of junior high school kids touring and interacting in the blissed-out acid exhibit.  The works were done primarily with lighting effects by USCO (an abbreviation for “the Us Company, ”) — a collective of artists, film makers, engineers, poets and friends who staged interactive, acid-fueled art shows in lofts, galleries and museums in the 60s.

An excerpt from the article reviewing the exhibit at Riverside Museum in New York:
Amid throbbing lights, dizzying designs, swirling smells, swelling sounds, the world of art is “turning on.” It is getting hooked on psychedelic art, the latest, liveliest movement to seethe up from the underground. Its bizarre amalgam of painting, sculpture, photography, electronics and engineering is aimed at inducing the hallucinatory effects and intensified perceptions that LSD, marijuana and other psychedelic (or mind-expanding) drugs produce — but without requiring the spectator to take drugs. [Viewers] … become disoriented from their normal time sense and preoccupations and are lifted into a state of heightened consciousness. In effect, the art may send them on a kind of drugless “trip.”
Psychedelic art is not all new. It derives from earlier innovations of art and electronics, as well as from such old-fashioned devices as the kaleidoscope and slide projector. Some of it even incorporates ancient Oriental philosophies and American Indian lore. But what is new about the art is its complex integration of these techniques and elements as well as its overall purpose. “We try to vaporize the mind,” says a psychedelic artist, “by bombing the senses.”

....[The art work found] its most receptive audience at colleges. Young people who grew up with TV and transistor radios and who take electronic equipment for granted have no difficulty in attuning themselves to the audio-visual bombardment. Older people who prefer what is called rational sequential experience, i.e., just one movie or a single radio station at a time, tend to freak out. "


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