February - Velvet Underground at The Scene in NYC 1967 [ Back to Gallery ]
 
 
An extremely important vintage concert poster for the 60’s! The Velvet Underground formed in December of 1965 and that same month after hearing them at Cafe Bizarre, Andy Warhol took them under his management to stage his idea of happenings with the Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows, a mixture of music, multi-media and audience involvement. Andy Warhol was soon to become America’s most famous pop/contemporary/modern artist and at the early stage of his career in 65' was the talk of the New York Art and Pop Culture scene.

Surprisingly East Coast’s Andy Warhol's happenings, along with the Factory crew and The Velvet Underground had many similarities to the happenings going on in the West Coast with Ken Kesey, The Merry Pranksters and the Grateful Dead with their Acid Tests. As it turns out, both the Acid Tests and Andy Warhol’s Happenings started in December of 1965 and lasted through the early part of 1966. Both were explorations of drugs, music and art, filled with light shows, films and audience involvement. While the East Coast had a much harder edge in their interpretation of the culture scene, i.e. hard drugs such as heroin and speed combined with lots of hints of sexual deviancy combined with a bit of shock value; the West Coast scene was focused on the more gentle side of culture change with peace, love and music with the objective of opening one’s mind through the use of LSD for the purpose of enlightening ones own self discovery. Finally, as a very strange coincidence, the Velvet Underground played under the name of the Warlocks prior to changing it to the Velvet Underground - the same as the Grateful Dead did!

While The Velvet Underground did not gain a large audience or following and nowhere near the longevity of The Grateful Dead, their first Album released in March 1967 (considered a failure at the time) has since gained significant acclaim as one of the top albums ever produced. Rolling Stone ranked it as #13 in their rankings of the greatest 500 albums ever produced and many other music critics and musicians have given it even higher rankings. Eno, a famous British muscian was once quoted as saying, "while the Velvet Underground's first album only sold 5,000 copies, everyone of those that purchased the album started a rock and roll band!". So from a sample of 1 (myself), he was dead-on as I both purchased their album in 1967 (still have it today) and had started a rock and roll band.

Now some things about the rarity and beauty of the poster! Strangely, while Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground were immerged into the underground scene in NYC, very few posters from NYC venues exists. In fact, I know of only two NYC venues from 1966 and early 1967 that concert posters exist – this one from The Scene and another venue at St. Mark Place. Both of venues only number 3 to maybe 4 known copies of these posters to exist! Many more posters survived from their travels and play dates on the West Coast (where they were rejected by producers, music critics, press and audiences) than their East Coast appearances – now figure that one out.

While I know some psychedelic collectors may not see the beauty in boxing style posters, this one in my opinion has it all – great composition, simple and to the point, giving lots of interest to the reader - Andy Warhol mentioned 3 times in the poster, along with eye catching words or phrases such as gurus, creative people, society submergers, swamis, Chelsea Girls, super spitals and me! Also, the colors and composition are perfect. You have to ask yourself if after reading and looking at this poster, wouldn't you say to yourself, "I've got to be there"?

Finally, the provenance of the poster is stellar! Owned by a member of the Velvet Underground and for the past 15 years has been displayed in the Andy Warhol museum in PIttsburgh. A more than exciting and highly important Vintage Concert Poster – one of my top 10 of all time! The Velvet Underground at the Scene in NYC starting in January 2, 1967!
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