Large original painted canvas banner likely utilized in one of Ken Kesey's final Acid Test events and based on Kesey's infamous limited edition ACID TEST album.
Very good plus.
While Timothy Leary's advocacy for LSD focused on science and scholarship (or attempted to seem so) and in doing so tried to introduce the drug to suburban homes under a thin veil of legitimacy, it was Ken Kesey's Acid Tests that made it dangerous again and perhaps more than any other effort helped popularize LSD in the counterculture. Kesey, fresh off his CUCKOO'S NEST success, staged these events primarily in and around the San Francisco Bay Area from 1965-66, beginning in people's homes, but slowly growing both in popularity and venue.
This banner is clearly based on the album art for Kesey's infamous cult LP, THE ACID TEST, released in March 1966 in a limited edition of 500 and sold primarily in the Bay Area. This would likely mean that the banner was utilized at the "Whatever It Is Festival" at San Francisco State University. There were only two acid tests after the LP's release in the Bay Area and the other — the Acid Test Graduation — is very well documented photographically and does not show the banner. This leaves the sixteenth Acid Test at SFSU in late 1966 and indeed "16 ACID" is written prominently in marker on the verso of the banner. This test was notable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this was the last legal acid test to take place. In addition, it also featured an early performance by the Grateful Dead (who played at a number of acid tests). And finally it marked Kesey's first public reemergence after going underground to avoid drug charges.(His extended improvised monologue over The Dead's backing at this event is widely available online, for the curious.) A wonderful piece of counterculture history and a rare survival.
n.p. [San Francisco?]: n.p, [ca. 1966]. 11' x 5.5'. Original large painted canvas banner, with plain black fabric skirt sewn to lower edge. Burlap reinforcements on verso at top and bottom of banner; "16 ACID" and "acid test" penned to top burlap section. Some light wear, mild tattering to edges. Some shallow folds, a few minuscule tears.
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