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the summer of love experience at the de young museum opened this weekend and will be on view until late august.
it’s the 50th year anniversary of the event and it’s been bundled up into a visual extravaganza that is ultimately inhibited by too much poster art and not enough light.
some of the recreative attempts of presenting LSD and its effects are rather childish and gimmicky in actual relation to the drug itself. which is typical of people who recreate things that they haven’t tried. as a result of the poor lighting and the overabundance of poster art, the show suffers.
another distracting element is the “fashion” side of the show. using the same mannequins that have been used to show of HIGH END FASHION for oscar de la renta and the likes, the hippy fashion looks so starkly drab in svelte positions designed to sell dress wear that costs thousands of dollars, not dirty hippy designs.
and speaking of dirty hippies, not a sighting any where no how. a complete absence of what many would actually imagine as the essential element of the summer of love — the dirty hippy.
but no, none such. this is all cleaned up and commercialized. it’s a presentation of an what might have been an era, but the total absence of real documentary artifacts and the lack of quality in the ones that are in this show makes it more of a fun “experience” for people who think mike myers and the spy who shagged you from behind are an homage to james bond flicks.
and the darkness. i really kind of resent this.
it’s a tactical move designed to make the viewer think they are looking at something special because darkness makes it harder to see what you are looking at. this force of fake focus is uncalled for as very little in this “show” is of any value. it’s mostly just paper and fabric. it’s relentlessly inexpensive and without value.
so to fake the viewer out by having dimly lit rooms is a sham. and they can fix this since this is the opening weekend.
TURN THE GD lights up!!!!
overall, this is clearly an attempt to capitalize on summer tourism. and the park is INSANELY beautiful, so no one is going to be terribly disappointed by this show. and the space is great and it’s been used effectively and the pace and movement is good.
but nobody should be winning a bunch of accolades for this either. the sheer absence of photography that matters and related to the summer is embarrassing and shameful noticeable — almost ZERO evidence of the actual event.
again, the overabundance of poster art becomes a crime pretty quickly by betraying the show with 2 dimensional drudgery — one can only look at so many psychedelic rock posters before they want to leave the headshop.
weirdly, i’m not even sure what they can really sell in the gift shop, so this show is a bit of mystery to me. it was a good idea that just kind of never reached a level of relevance.
it runs through the summer and ends in august — get it, revisiting the summer of love 50 years later.
can’t say this is a show i’ll see twice, which is a drag. if you can’t see a show more than once, it’s probably just an “experience” and not a “revelation."
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