By Dan Hust
BETHEL Maybe you know that Arnold Skolnick designed the iconic dove-on-a-guitar Woodstock poster.
But do you know Skolnick created the opening and ending credits of the Academy Award-winning “To Kill a Mockingbird”?
And did you know Skolnick’s Woodstock poster wasn’t the one originally commissioned? That an equally talented artist named David Edward Byrd created the first Woodstock poster one rarely seen since?
These and other fascinating facts and memorabilia are part of the Museum at Bethel Woods’ brand new exhibition: “Byrd/Skolnick: A Tale of Two Posters.”
Running from now through July 22, the exhibit chronicles the lives of these two very different men, their interactions with the famed Woodstock festival, and their subsequent work.
Both men, in fact, have had incredible careers. Skolnick took his lauded style of powerful simplicity from Madison Avenue to the book world, having participated in the publication of more than three dozen art books. He also has earned acclaim for his paintings (which are on display at Bethel).
Byrd gained further fame designing posters for Broadway shows like “Godspell” and “Follies,” then illustrating Warner Bros. characters like Bugs Bunny, even developing the “look” of Harry Potter in the first three of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books.
Yet neither has ever met the other. Museum Director Wade Lawrence promises that is about to change.
“Both artists will be here on April 28,” he says.
Skolnick and Byrd were in the half-a-million throng at Woodstock in 1969, but on April 28 nearly 43 years later they’ll finally meet, in front of Woodstock promoter Michael Lang, no less.
That Saturday, the artists will gather with Lang for a day of conversations, poster-making demonstrations and a Rock Art Poster Fair filled with leading rock art vendors. You can even have your own posters appraised.
This is the first scholarly exhibition the Museum has mounted on its own, says Lawrence, and it includes a range of “knockoff” posters created with and without the original artists’ permission to imitate the graphic style of the original Woodstock posters.
“We’ve got posters from Hungary, Greenland, Quebec, the U.S.,” he explains.
Over 150 items fill the downstairs exhibition space, from Byrd’s TV Guide covers to an original Woodstock camper’s flag created in Skolnick’s style.
Says Lawrence, “It’s an art exhibit, a history exhibit and a pop culture exhibit, all in one!”
For more information, including ticket prices and museum hours, visit www.bethelwoodscenter.org or call 1-866-781-2922.