New Film Shines Light on Poster Art

by | Apr 21, 2009

The documentary, American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art, is scheduled to premiere June 20th in San Francisco as part of The Rock Poster Society’s “Rock Art By The Bay” event.

The film, four years in the making, is the story of one of America’s truest folk art forms, the rock poster.

Beginning in the 1960s in San Francisco with the birth of the dance concert, a rock poster accompanied almost every show that was put on during that era.

“At the time, Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead were not played on the radio, and the only way you could advertise their shows, was by hanging posters in the streets”, explains author Robert Greenfield.

Today, America is seeing a resurgence in this art form, brought upon by the popularity of websites like, and the ease of silk screening. Artists like EMEK, Tara McPherson, and Jay Ryan are creating beautiful works of art for contemporary groups like The Decemberists and Death Cab For Cutie.

The film includes interviews with over 30 artists and takes the viewer on a journey through the different decades and incarnations of this rebellious art form.