In observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, I am also celebrating the massive AOUON political poster collection created by the late Michael Rossman, FSM pioneer. I drew the above poster because I thought the collection deserved a poster of its own. I made two multiples of the original on a giant poster copy machine, and gave one to Michael Rossman for the collection. (I kept one copy and the original artwork.) The poster was returned to me after he died, and before the AOUON collection was donated to the Oakland Museum of California. (Sadly, a great deal of punk posters I’d collected and donated to AOUON were lost to me at that point. I have no idea if they were kept or discarded.)
Before Rossman’s death, I’d been photographing some of the erotic and sexual freedom examples in his collection of about 20,000 or so progressive political posters. I was attempting to learn from and organize them as a visual chronicle of the sexual revolution. Many rock posters were included in this category. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete that sexological investigation.
I had written a column about this in Carnal Nation, back in 2010. Unfortunately, Carnal Nation is no longer online and so I can’t share a link with you, just the graphic that headed the column.
Other scholars have done brilliant work with the posters, including Michael’s friend and colleague, Lincoln Cushing. The Oakland Museum of California displayed a small percentage of the posters a few years ago, next to the 1968 exhibit. It was great to see the posters, and know that Michael’s lifework and passion were well tended. The world would be a poorer place without enthusiastic collectors and preservationists with a passion for social justice, including erotic justice.