Posters That Rock

Advertising Poster, “Lilith Fair,” 1998 (Object ID: 2010.35.4).

If you’ve kept an eye on our Flex Gallery in Henry Ford Museum the past few weeks you’ve likely seen the “coming soon” signage for our latest exhibit, “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.” In just a few days the exhibit, presented to us from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will open to the public and we couldn’t be more excited. With a diverse collection of artists and genres, a visit to “Women Who Rock” will surely inspire you to flip through your collection of records, rummage through a stack of mixtapes or have your scrolling through your favorite playlists.

I asked Jeanine Head Miller, our curator of domestic life, to speak to two concert posters in our digital collections. Both created by concert poster artist Mark Arminski in the 1990s, the posters’ artwork captures important moments in both popular culture and the musicians’ lives.

Singer Sarah McLachlan was frustrated by conventional wisdom—concert promoters and radio stations had long refused to feature two female musicians in a row. McLachlan took action, organizing a concert tour and traveling music festival called Lilith Fair (poster picture above). Featuring only female artists and female-led bands–including well-known performers and emerging artists–the hugely successful Lilith Fair took place the summers of 1997 through 1999.

Patti Smith Poster

Advertising Poster, “The Ark Welcomes Patti Smith,” April 4, 1995 (Object ID: 2010.35.3).

Patti Smith was one of the pioneers of hard-edged punk rock in the 1970s. In 1995, when she performed this concert, Smith was reentering the music scene after the unexpected death of her husband, MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith. Patti Smith was on the cusp of artistic rebirth—fueled by her ability to reshape her music to speak to new generations.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford. Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power is at Henry Ford Museum May 17-August 17, 2014.

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