folks have been putting Woodstock’s legacy through the spin cycle since
1969. On Thursday night, as the festival’s 40th anniversary approached,
several hundred people piled into the Morrison Hotel Gallery on
the Bowery to see the resulting wash, a newly curated exhibit—three
walls of family friendly pictures by the likes of festival
“staff-photog” Henry Diltz.
Spanning Woodstock’s preparation to its aftermath, a procession of iconic, bucolic images was presented. Adam Weinstein, one
of the show’s curators, wore colorful beads around his neck and a red
button-down Ralph Lauren shirt, as he showed off the first photo—a
bearded hippie raising the Stars and Stripes over a tee-pee—without
irony. Weinstein shrugged off the lack of social context, saying, “I
wasn’t there, so I wouldn’t know what was happening in the tents.”
up were portraits of chiseled flower children, easily mistaken for an
ad campaign. If the exhibit is anything to go by, brown acid was a type
of beer and there was no “F-U-C- K, what are we fighting for?”
sing-along. The weekend was just a flag-waving pastoral, and Jimi
Hendrix, so moved by love of the U.S. of A., cranked out “The
Star-Spangled Banner” on his Stratocaster.
Pointing to a small
wooden stage crammed in the corner of the space, after the crowd had
gone, Weinstein gushed, “It’s like we’re doing our own Woodstock here.”
I wanted to ask him if he meant in the vein of Woodstock ‘99, but a
middle-aged woman carrying a tennis racket wanted a price list, so I
let him get to work.