Jefferson Airplane

Exhibition Label
Even the name seemed psychedelic. Jefferson Airplane was one of the first rock bands to fully capture the counterculture of the mid-1960s, quickly gaining national and then international fame. This 1966 poster featured a photograph of the band with its new lead vocalist, Grace Slick (born 1939). Jefferson Airplane’s irreverent lyrics—with references to sex, drugs, and radical politics—pulsating sound, and Slick’s soaring contralto and dramatic stage presence, launched the band into the national consciousness. The psychedelic posters commissioned by rock impresario Bill Graham for San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium suggest the dizzying, multisensory experience of many Fillmore events, which were often charged with high-decibel music, light shows, and mind-altering drugs. Although the wild lettering and colors that designer Wes Wilson used rendered the advertisement almost illegible, this innovative style successfully evoked the burgeoning hippie counterculture.

Object Details

Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Robert Wesley Wilson, born 1937
Copy after
Herb Greene, born 1942
West Coast Lithograph Company
Paul Kantner, born 1941
Grace Wing Slick, born 1939
Jack Casady, born 1944
Marty Balin, born 1942
Spencer Dryden, 7 Apr 1938 - 10 Jan 2005
Jorma Kaukonen, born 1940
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Jack Banning
Color photolithographic poster
Image: 51.2cm x 33.5cm (20 3/16" x 13 3/16")
Sheet: 57cm x 35.5cm (22 7/16" x 14")