Psychedelic culture on display in London

Granny (and Granddad) can take a trip again in London, with the debut of a major psychedelic exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, hailed as the world’s leading museum of art and design.

"The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics," "Revolution" 1968 by Alan Aldridge (© Iconic Images)

“The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics,” “Revolution” 1968 by Alan Aldridge (© Iconic Images)

Opening in September, the exhibition “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records & Rebels 1966-70” includes a re-creation of the the city’s underground UFO Club, complete with psychedelic light show and a “3D sound installation.” Pink Floyd was one of the house bands at the groundbreaking venue.

Pink Floyd also performed at the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream in London, another LSD-splashed touchstone for the exhibition.

Artifacts to be displayed at “You Say You Want a Revolution?” include shattered guitars played by Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend; suits worn by the Beatles on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album; a George Harrison sitar; handwritten lyrics from “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”; classic psychedelic posters; and clothing from Carnaby Street boutiques such as Granny Takes a Trip. Audio comes from several hundred albums from the collection of DJ John Peel.

The music festival phenomenon of the late ’60s gets its own section, with footage from Monterey, Woodstock, Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight and the Newport Jazz Festival. “Performers’ costumes on display will include a kaftan worn by American rock diva Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, a native American-style suit worn by the Who’s lead singer Roger Daltry, and a jacket and guitar belonging to Jimi Hendrix.”

The Acid Test poster designed by Wes Wilson. Courtesy of Steward Brand.

The Acid Test poster designed by Wes Wilson. Courtesy of Steward Brand.

Artists represented include Yoko Ono, Bridget Riley, Richard Hamilton, Alan Aldridge and Robert Rauschenberg.

“Through objects relating to music, fashion, film, design and politics, an immersive soundtrack and theatrical three-dimensional design, (the exhibition) will investigate the cultural upheavals and the changes within the law that took place during those five revolutionary years,” the V&A said.

1960s radical politics and the anti-Vietnam War movement are set for spotlight treatment as well.

An original Apple 1 computer will be on display, the connection apparently being Steve Jobs’ early inspiration from psychedelic drugs.

Techs from Sennheiser are providing support and audio gear for the museum experience, which runs Sept. 10 through Feb. 26.

Martin Roth, director of the V&A, said: “This ambitious framing of late 1960s counterculture shows the incredible importance of that revolutionary period to our lives today. This seminal exhibition will shed new light on the wide-reaching social, cultural and intellectual changes of the late 1960s which followed the austerity of the post-war years, not just in the UK but throughout the Western world.”

The V&A put on a major David Bowie exhibition in 2013.


  1. Steve Andrews says:

    You can pass the acid test by not taking any acid!!!

  2. I wish they would bring this exhibit over to America. Anyone out there know of anything similar planned for the States?

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