“In conjunction with Rebel Newsprint, an exhibition of over 100 underground papers curated by Sean Stewart, Interference Archive will screen films about this time period, and the political and social conditions that lead to the development of the underground newspaper scene. The films will be followed by open discussion.”
I have it on good authority that a few of the stars of one of the mini documentaries will be there tonight and I’ve gotten a handful of emails from miscellaneous veterans of the era who are planning on coming out. Should be a fun night.
“The Man Can’t Bust Our Music” ad appeared in underground papers and music magazines late in 1968. It was commercially clever, but soon proved embarrassing. Then-Columbia president Clive Davis worried that it identified the General Motors of rock “much too closely with the counterculture.” Rolling Stone lampooned CBS’s “identity crisis.” Underground papers pointed out that cool records did not deter the police from their appointed rounds.” — Abe Peck, Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press
Here are five images from my guest post over on the freshly re-launched Interference Archive website. The post showcases images and captions from 10 of the over 100 underground newspapers featured in my Rebel Newsprint show opening tonight (02/21) at the Interference Archive in Brooklyn (131 8th Street, #4).
Click through for the rest of the images and definitely come out for the opening if you’re in the area. The walls are flooded with newspapers, a few posters, and a couple pieces of original artwork. We also have a handful of portfolios around the center table that are filled with individual issues you can flip through, and there will be a big ass stack of free copies of my book in the middle.
Rebel Newsprint: The Underground Press
February 21 - March 24, 2013
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 21 , 2013,
The Vietnam War, class inequality, black liberation, and women’s struggles—against this backdrop of social upheaval, a rebellious counterculture produced a vibrant underground newspaper scene. In four short years, from 1965 to 1969, the underground press grew from five small newspapers in as many cities in the United States to over five hundred newspapers—with millions of readers—all over the world. Completely circumventing (and subverting) establishment media by utilizing its own news service and freely sharing content among the papers, the underground press at its height became the unifying institution for the alternative culture of the 1960s and 1970s. It also allowed for all sorts of intriguing and compelling art, design, and writing on its pages.
Interference Archive is pleased to host the exhibition Rebel Newsprint: The Underground Press, curated by Sean Stewart, editor of On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. (PM Press, 2011). The show features original copies from Sean’s growing collection of underground newspapers, such as Basta Ya, Berkeley Barb, Berkeley Tribe, Chicago Seed, Helix, It Ain’t Me Babe, Los Angeles Free Press, Osawatomie, Rat Subterranean News, San Francisco Express Times, San Francisco Oracle, Screw: The Sex Review, Black Panther, East Village Other, and Realist, and related artifacts to illustrate the process, graphic sensibilities, historical context, and debates shaping these periodicals.
For more info contact: Cindy Milstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean Stewart grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, and is the former owner of Babylon Falling, a bookstore and gallery in San Francisco. He now lives in Brooklyn.
In addition to the papers, I’m bringing a couple pieces of original art from the era as well as a full paste-up/print-ready issue of Atlanta’s Great Speckled Bird from the 70s along with the the final printed and circulated version. I’ll also be sacrificing a handful of papers so people can flip through them at the show. And I’m giving away 24 copies of my book about the underground press. And Just Seeds artist/Interference Archive member Kevin Caplicki is screen printing some posters of the image above for the show.
If you’re around next week you should definitely come out and say hi. It’s going to be a fun night for sure.
Over the holidays I got a chance to give a deep read to On the Ground, the illustrated history of the 1960s-early 70s underground press, edited by Sean Stewart of the Babylon Falling Tumblr site. It’s a rich oral history, with interviews with editors, artists, and cartoonists, and is packed with underground newspaper covers, ads, cartoons, posters, photographs, and more. The visuals explode off the page, and the whole book feels like a big, thick underground paper. This is essential reading (and looking) for anyone interested in 1960s politics, the underground press, alternative publishing, and graphics and comix. On the Ground is available at Amazon.com, and Babylon Falling has daily graphic updates.