Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

There’s Something Happening Here – On The Sunset Strip in WeHo!

Tower Records on the Sunset Strip circa 1980

Tower Records on the Sunset Strip circa 1980

Presented by the City of West Hollywood through WeHo Arts, “There’s Something Happening Here…On The Sunset Strip 1966” is a series of exhibitions and events marking the 50th anniversary of the Sunset Strip riots, and spotlighting the enduring significance of the music, activism, and revolution that united and shaped a generation (www.bit.ly/SunsetStrip66). Newly installed is the outdoor exhibition “Rock ‘n’ Roll Billboards of The Sunset Strip” by photographer Robert Landau. Ten of his photographs have been enlarged to 8’ H x 13’ W and are on view around the perimeter of the city parking lot at 8775 Sunset Blvd, 90069 – formerly the Tower Records overflow lot.

c Robert Landau/RockAndRollBillboards.com

Billboard for the movie Tommy on the Sunset Strip

Landau’s photographs capture the era from 1967 to 1980 when bigger-than-life record company billboards – promoting music icons including The Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, The Who and Diana Ross, among many others – transformed the Sunset Strip into the world’s largest drive-through art gallery. In the late 1960s, Landau was a kid with his first camera, living a block off the Strip. He noticed that the billboards, hand-finished by highly trained commercial painters, had a short life span, and would routinely be changed to advertise new albums and artists. He began shooting color transparencies of these one-of-a-kind pop culture urban artworks so he could have slide shows for friends who wouldn’t otherwise get to see them.

c Henry Diltz

Decades later, Landau rediscovered his Kodachromes , which ended up being the most extensive collection of photographs to document this remarkable Sunset Strip phenomenon. Inspired, he interviewed the artists, record producers, and designers who brought the billboards to life, lending fresh insight to the culture of the day. It’s all chronicled in Landau’s book Rock ‘n’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip (Angel City Press, www.rockandrollbillboards.com), and he’ll discuss the project and his process during his April 26 talk, scheduled for 7PM place in the City of West Hollywood Public Meeting Room/City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., 90069. The talk is free; please RSVP here: http://bit.ly/BillboardsEvent.

Beatles Abbey Road Billboard, Sunset Strip, 1969

Beatles Abbey Road Billboard, Sunset Strip, 1969

Ongoing, “There’s Something Happening Here…,” an exhibition of work by legendary rock ‘n roll photographer Henry Diltz, is on view through May 3 on the second floor of the West Hollywood Library (during regular library hours; 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., 90069). Diltz’s images celebrate the performers integral to the Sunset Strip music scene, as well as the extraordinary community of artists that existed in the hills just above West Hollywood in Laurel Canyon. For more than 40 years, Diltz’s work has graced hundreds of album covers and been featured in books, magazines and newspapers. His unique artistic style has produced powerful photographic essays on Woodstock, The Monterey Pop Festival, The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jimi Hendrix, and scores of other artists (https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/search/henry-diltz).

c Henry Diltz

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