These days every baby boomer who was anywhere near Woodstock forty years ago this August 15 is telling anyone who will listen about their experiences. Well, I am no exception.
I was headed up to the festival when I received a call from the District Attorney’s office telling me (a 17-year-old) I was being arrested–“and don’t leave, we’ll be right there.” The legal action was for being co-publisher and art director of The New York Review of Sex and Politics (above). All the publishers of the four “underground sex papers” (Screw, Kiss, and Pleasure) were being rounded up on the eve of the Woodstock festival to, as one of the detectives told me, “annoy you.” So, there I was sitting in a pen in the NYC Tombs, as my pals were sliding in the mud, waiting for my courtroom hearing (along with the other publishers). It’s a long story, and some of it can be found here. Suffice it to say, I never made it to Woodstock (which I suppose was a mixed blessing).
Incidentally, the above 1969 issue of NYRS&P was recently reprinted by David Platzker of Specific Object, to be handed out at an exhibition devoted to Dan Graham, the writer and conceptual artist who is also having a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York. So if you want to see Graham’s publications and get your own copy of the NYRS&P (in fact, the one that caused the arrest), visit here.
About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →