When Arica told me that she was contemplating an exhibition of Herb Greene's photographs of the Grateful Dead, I thought it was an excellent idea. With the exhibition coinciding with three concerts by the surviving members of the "Dead" at Soldier Field over July 4th weekend, this would be a truly historic exhibition.
I was not a "Dead Head" but I had seen them perform several times. In the early 1970's my husband, Jerry Wexler, had invited Jerry Garcia and their manager, Sam Cutler, to dinner. Jerry was in hot pursuit of the "Dead" as their contract with Warner Bros. was coming to an end and he wanted to sign them to Atlantic . In the end they re-signed with Warner Bros.
I did not know Herb, but in our first conversation we discovered that our paths must have indeed crossed, either at the Monterey Pop Festival or at concerts at the Fillmore West. We also had a number of mutual friends including Peter Albin and Sam Andrews of "Big Brother and the Holding Company", gallery owner and one-time Rolling Stones Records President, Earl McGrath, and Bill Brach.
Peter Albin had introduced my sister, Connie, and me to Bill on one of our visits to San Francisco. Bill became enamored of Connie and soon after, he arrived in Los Angeles with camera in hand. He asked us, along with our Afghan hound, Kabul, to spend the day at various locations taking portraits of us. After many decades Bill contacted me when he was preparing a book of his photographs.
Herb revealed that Bill was the person who had drawn hieroglyphics on a bedroom wall which became the backdrop for numerous portraits of the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane and other San Francisco bands. When I sent Bill the press release for Herb's exhibition he sent me the following history of the famous wall:
I met Herb at S.F. State. We took photography and film classes together. I rented a room from him and his wife (who later worked for Bill Graham) in '65 on Baker St., a few blocks north of the panhandle. He took me down the peninsula to hear a band called the Warlocks. They sounded like early Stones. It was a small place and the band was on the dance floor. Herb said I kept bumping into one of the microphones and as I was dancing my ass off I didn't realize it.
My bedroom had this gashouse green wallpaper that was beginning to peel off so I took a paint scraper and scraped it all off. Under the wallpaper was a plaster wall and it had "Happy New Year Folks 1936" written in large letters. I was taking a class in Egyptology from an Egyptian woman who always wore lots of gold jewelry and part of the class was learning hieroglyphs.
Using a felt tipped pen I began to practice my hieroglyphs on the wall as well as doing a few abstract drawings until most of the wall was covered. The room had east facing windows and in those days no one used flash, just natural lighting (which was great in S.F. because it was often foggy and the light was diffused) and a nice light filled the room. When I moved out Herb used the room as his studio.
There really are only six degrees of separation!! ~Renee Pappas
HILTON | ASMUS FOTO
"DEAD FIFTY YEARS"
BY PHOTOGRAPHER HERB GREENE,
featuring vintage photographs of THE GRATEFUL DEAD
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 2nd from 5:30 – 9:00
‘I met Jerry when I was wandering through North Beach in San Francisco looking for beatniks. I heard a bluegrass band coming through a coffee shop door and I went in. After the set I walked up and introduced myself to him ‘cause I was so keen on bluegrass. It’s an unforgettable moment for me.'
~ Herb Greene
CHICAGO – HILTON | ASMUS FOTO, 716 N. Wells Street, Chicago, presents vintage photographs of the THE GRATEFUL DEAD by legendary photographer, Herb Greene during the "Fare Thee Well" concerts by the surviving members of the Grateful Dead that will take place at Soldier Field over the Fourth of July weekend.
The third photography exhibition for the newly launched Hilton | Asmus FOTO opens on July 2nd and continues through July 30th.
Herb Greene was part of the 1960's San Francisco art scene and a friend of many of the musicians that emerged to create psychedelic music and the San Francisco sound.
He began photographing the Grateful Dead when the group was called the Warlocks. His iconic photograph of the band on the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets is the poster for this exhibition. A limited edition of 50, signed and numbered copies will be available for purchase.
Greene photographed them at free concerts in the park, the Fillmore Auditorium, the Avalon Ballroom and the Monterey Pop Festival as well as the group's many concert tours around the country. He has photographed San Francisco 60's legends including The Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin & Big Brother and the Holding Company, Moby Grape, Country Joe and the Fish, and the Charlatans.
International musicians photographed by Herb Greene include Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, The Pointer Sisters, Sly Stone, Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart.
In addition to framed signed and numbered copies, the exhibition will present the portfolios, "Brief Encounters with the Dead" and "Acid Age of San Francisco Rock" as well as the penultimate copy of the "Platinum Portfolio". Also available will be one of-a-kind lithographs, triptychs and one-off vintage copies of the most iconic photographs.
HILTON | ASMUS FOTO salutes this legendary band and its legendary photographer, Herb Greene.
Opening reception for Herb Greene's exhibition "Dead Fifty Years"
Thursday, July 2nd from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at HILTON | ASMUS FOTO
716 N. Wells • Chicago, IL 60654 • 312.852.8200 • www.hiltonasmus.com
On Friday, July 3rd at 2:00 PM, Herb Greene will give a lecture at the Virgin Hotel.
A corresponding exhibition will be held at UPSTAIRS, the 25th floor of the Virgin Hotel Chicago, 203 North Wabash Avenue www.virginhotels.com
Upcoming exhibitions will include Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd (former wife of George Harrison & Eric Clapton), Carinthia West (actress/photographer Rolling Stones), and Peter Sorel.