May 18 – September 1, 2024
Robert Landau, Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969. Image © Robert Landau.
SHolmes and Titelman Galleries
The VBMA presents Rock ‘N’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip: Photographs by Robert Landau, in the summer of 2024.
For a brief period of about 15 years from the late 1960s to the early 1980s classic rock and roll billboards dominated the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. These over-sized, one of a kind hand-painted wooden panels loomed over LA’s most iconic boulevard for a period of weeks before being dismantled, white washed, and painted over with newer images. Photographer Robert Landau, still in his teens was there to document this explosion of ephemeral pop culture masterpieces.
Often adapted from edgy album cover art, the rock and roll billboards brought a fresh new raw energy to the L.A. urban landscape, the likes of which has not been experienced before or since. The elongated 14 by 48 foot wooden canvases depicted imagery that eschewed traditional commercial considerations and instead reflected the period’s latest trends in music, graphic art, and even fine art, transforming the Strip into a veritable drive-thru art gallery. Everyone in the world of classic rock from the Beatles and Bowie to Led Zeppelin and Zappa was represented.
With the release of the book Rock ‘N’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip (Angel City Press, 2012), Robert Landau in conjunction with Photographic Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA, has organized a touring exhibition consisting of photographs of the key imagery from the book and pertinent text panels. The exhibition brings to life this unique and rarely seen period in the history of rock and roll, while shedding a new light on the fabled Sunset Strip, whose night clubs served as the birthplace to some of the best musicians of that era. Photos trace the early beginnings of the billboard phenomenon beginning with Doors breakthrough promotion for their debut record in 1967 right up until the advent of MTV in the early 80s which signaled the demise of the era.
The exhibition was organized by Photographic Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.