Last Thursday night was the opening reception for the deYoung's exhibit The Summer of Love Experience, and the Chronicle's Leah Garchik was on hand to hear some introductory remarks by Dede Wilsey, the recently embattled socialite and president of the museum's board of directors. Ironically, though probably not intentionally so, Wilsey began her remarks saying, "I’m Dede Wilsey, a flower child," adding that she "actually was here in 1967, and things haven’t really gotten better."
Garchik suggests her remarks may have been influenced by the fact that it was on Thursday that the world first learned of the US airstrikes on Syria, and apparently Wilsey went on to give a personal recollection of life in the late 1960's.
Wilsey was wearing a designer (Andrew Gn) flowered dress, real baubles (“I left my hippie earrings in the country”), and fresh camellias woven into her hair with rubber bands usually used for her Malteses’ topknots (“I never realized how much it hurt”). It was an A-list interpretation of the era, and it might be questioned by worshipers in the church of Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia. But I thought her opening statement, while having little to do with the cultural and curatorial scholarship that went into creating this show, was an honest reflection of what most people who lived through that time were thinking.
The exhibit includes rock posters from the era, photographs, memorabilia, and fashion. Per the exhibit materials, "Local designers began to create fantastic looks using a range of techniques and materials, including leatherwork, hand-painting, knitting and crotchet, embroidery, repurposed denim, and tie-dye. These innovators included Birgitta Bjerke, aka 100% Birgitta; Mickey McGowan, aka the Apple Cobbler; Burray Olson; and Jeanne Rose."
The show includes 150 items from the museum's collection, as well as loans of "key, iconic" items, and it will be on view through August 20.
Also on hand to celebrate at the opening events last week was local Jefferson Airplane cover band San Francisco Airship, who you can hear below.