Rick Griffin: Grateful Dead at Madison Square Garden,
1988, mixed media on tracing paper, image 17 x 21½in (26¼ x 31in incl. frame)
This was a poster design for the Dead's series of concerts in New York, September 1988. It is based on the Mouse Studios 'Jester' image from the 1972 Dead Songbook, shown here popping out of the venue like a jack-in- the-box. A different image, featuring King Kong in a tie-dye T-shirt, was eventually used for posters in the NYC area. These concerts were a nine-night stand, each before a sell-out audience of 21,000 - the biggest series of concerts ever played in the city up to that point and also the biggest pop event (and money grosser) of the year. In their thirty-year history the band played at the Garden a record-breaking 52 times. The final concert of the series, on 24th September, was an early ecological benefit, to raise money for a campaign to save the tropical rain forests. In an article in the 'New York Times', Jerry Garcia said at the time, 'We've never called on our fans to align themselves with one cause or another...but this is an issue that is life-threatening, and we hope we can empower our own audience to act'.