Through the Past Darkly

Nesting is when people prepare their homes for the arrival of a blessed event. Cleaning is what happens after the blessed event turns 20 or 30, leaves the nest, and the parents prepare for the next stage of their lives. Uncovering is when, after cleaning, it is time to start “clearing.” I’ve been in this latter mode – clearing up various attics, rooms and closets, organizing (or simply throwing away) boxes, stacks and files of papers and stuff.

My stuff is related to work. And much of this is the work I did as a designer/art director/writer in the late sixties and seventies (when I was in my late teens and early twenties). A large amount of this stuff is donated to the School of Visual Arts’ Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, where archivist extraordinaire Beth Kleber is cataloging and documenting original and printed materials from many significant 20th century designers and illustrators (see collection descriptions here and galleries here).  Kleber also maintains the “Container List” blog, featuring updated stories about the various holdings.

Some of this material I’m passing on to the MGDSCA, I either designed or art directed. They are posted here:

(Above) 1968 Advertisement for The New York Free Press (I was art director) benefit featuring Charles Mingus, who had been in retirement up until that time. He surprised everyone in attendance by playing electric stand-up bass. Proceeds from the show, held at the Fillmore East, were stolen by the Free Press publisher – so much for the love generation.

(Below, top) 1966 “My Discarded Tissue” the first zine I ever worked on while in high school. My drawing style, like many of my friends, was influenced by Aubrey Beardsley. (Mimeograph on colored paper.)

(Below, second from top) 1968 Cover illustrated by me for The New York Free Press. I couldn’t draw people, especially women, but I was a master of feathers. My lettering left much to be desired too.

(Below, third from top) 1968 Cover for The New York Free Press revealing the undercover police who were sprinkled through anti-war demonstrations in New York photographing demonstrators. We decided to photograph the photographers.

(Below, fourth from top) 1971 Cover by Skeeter Grant (a.k.a. Art Spiegelman) for The New York ACE (which I art directed). The ACE was run by Rex Weiner and Bob Singer and at one time partially funded by John Lennon.

(Below, second from Bottom) 1972 Cover by Brad Holland for Mobster Times (which I art directed). This satiric “crime does pay” magazine began a year before Watergate. The theme was politics was as criminal as the Mob. Al Capone was our mascot.

(Below, bottom) 1972 Advertisement designed and written by me for Mobster Times equating politics and crime. The typeface, Stymie Bold, was my favorite. Mobster Times had a feature called “Who is the Criminal?” showing composite body parts of different mobsters that when assembled became J.Edgar Hoover. The FBI director died the day this issue hit the newsstand. Bad luck.

7 thoughts on “Through the Past Darkly

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  6. RWordplay

    Wonderful stuff. And, really evocative of the era. Speaking of the Era, I am also working on a book/film project on Limbo Boutique that was open between 1965 and 1975 on St. Marks Place. As the store was, among other things, the unofficial ticket office for the Fillmore East, it occurred to me you might remember the place, which is to say, have some good memories of the place you might want to share. 
    If so, please let me know, as I’m compiling a list of people to interview or put on camera. If you’ve any memories, stories, pictures, I’d love to speak with you. 
    Ten-thousand thanks in advance for your troubles. 

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