While vintage concert posters are our passion here at Psychedelic Art Exchange, we are thrilled to announce that our next auction will focus on a different type of material; something different and something special. This auction will feature 100 lots that were exclusively consigned by lifetime psychedelic art collector, Houston Freeburg. Mr. Freeburg maintains one of the largest collections of vintage head shop and blacklight posters in the world. He has been collecting this material since the late 1960's, and could easily be named one of the greatest collectors 1960s paper ephemera of all time. The collection we are offering you tells the story of the 1960s counterculture movement from many different angles.
As a young teenager in Memphis, Tennessee the 1960s, Freeburg was in a band that played mostly soul music from the Memphis Stax/Volt & Detroit era. Then in 1967, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released their debut album, "Are You Experienced?".This also happened to be the year that he began collecting blacklight posters. According to Freeburg, the album "changed my life and the band's repertoire". A few years later in 1969, Freeburg was lucky enough to be able to attend one of Hendrix's live shows, along with his classmate and friend Chris Bell, who went on to be one of the founding members of the power pop band Big Star. Hendrix remains one of Freeburg's favorite artists of all time, and a significant portion of his collection is devoted to the guitar playing legend.
In addition to his collection of vintage head shop and blacklight posters, Freeburg maintains a collection of vintage ballroom concert posters from San Francisco and Detroit. Portions of his incredible collection have been on display in multiple museums including the Toledo Museum of Art and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. We asked him to share some information about his collection as well as this specific type of ephemera, and are pleased to present this to the members of our community.
How and when you started building this collection?
Freeburg: I started collecting blacklight posters in 1967 at the age of 14. My father built an annex to my bedroom which I called my black light room. By the time I had the walls filled with original posters, I had about twenty on display (several of which are currently consigned for this auction). I purchased a massive 4' long, double tube black light fixture. Some of my happiest childhood recollections were spending time in this room, burning incense, listening to psychedelic music, and smoking dope. I purchased the majority of the posters for $1.00 each at a curio/head shop in Memphis called "John Simmons" who designed his entire basement to accommodate these posters. I still have a few never opened. All the posters were rolled and wrapped in a plastic sleeve at the time of purchase.
What has inspired your sustained interest in this material over the years?
What’s unique about blacklight head shop posters in the world of collectibles compared to other types of posters?
Which piece in this auction has the most significance to you and why?
2."Fuck The Draft"; The Dirty Linen Corp.; New York, NY;
3. Hendrix Blacklight; Taken from the Silverstein (Osiris) photo; art by Joe Roberts Jr.
4. "One Side Makes You Taller...."; Steve Sachs 1967; Artist: Cathy Hill