Freedom as fuel: The work of Marijke Koger-Dunham
Freedom fosters creativity. Creativity requires freedom. We’re not debating the loudness of a block party or the proliferation of graffiti as inalienable rights. We’re simply talking about the best kind of freedom: the kind that inspires.
This Friday, June 29th, the Sonos Studio will host the first career retrospective of iconic 1960s psychedelic artist Marijke Koger-Dunham. Koger’s work inspired some of the great artists of her generation, and has preserved the 1960s in imagery that now exemplifies an era of creative freedom.
During a time of continuous societal shift, Koger and the people with whom she worked enkindled others by exercising their creative freedoms; exploring radical new aesthetics; exchanging old ideas for new ones. Her creativity flourished at a time when the concept of freedom was in flux. And as sentient citizens of creative communities in Amsterdam, Ibiza, London, and later Los Angeles, Koger and her cronies inspired entire nations of do-ers and be-ers to set their sights on a new norm, as curious and creative observers and thinkers.
Marijke and her partner Seemon Posthuma started designing clothes and posters in Amsterdam around 1964. The clothiers and their wares were photographed and soon published in The Times (London) to much celebration. The two soon opened a studio, formed a design collective and band called The Fool, along with artists Barry Finch and Josje Leeger.
Koger-Dunham went on to create album artwork for The Beatles, Cream, The Incredible String Band, The Move, and The Hollies. She also created fashions and costumes for The Beatles and Cream, painted John Lennon’s piano, and guitars for Eric Clapton and George Harrison. The Sonos Studio exhibition includes rare original lithographs that were last exhibited at the Beatles’ Apple Boutique in 1967. Also included are fashion sketches, posters for Koger’s own musical projects, sketches for the iconic Hair mural (the largest in history at the time), selected archival video footage, and recent oil paintings.
Serendipitously, in 1969 Seemon and Marijke released an album called Son of America, produced by Graham Nash, in collaboration with Booker T. Jones, who will be performing at the Friday night opening.
For those in the LA area, this exhibit is not to be missed. Can’t make it? Immerse yourself in the experience with this Spotify playlist of artists who worked with Kroger-Dunham, and peruse some of her pieces below.
Bryan Crawford has long been indoctrinated with good music. Starting with everything from Dylan to disco in the home, he soon became a jazz nerd. Now he spends his time curating an online music discovery resource featuring monthly installments of emerging artists in major US metros.