Editor’s Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances the closing reception of Know Justice, Know Peace has been cancelled. However, you may still view the exhibition during normal business hours – between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through July 22 at the Long Beach Senior Center.
The Gray Panthers Pop-Up Gallery at the Long Beach Senior Center is presenting a closing reception of Know Justice, Know Peace, an iconic photographic exhibition of more than 20 images by Jim Coke and Takashi Suzuki, with Victor Raphael, on July 22.
The light blue paint on the center’s pop-up gallery walls displaying images of the late 60s counterculture, including Black Panthers, The Doors and Allen Ginsberg, elicit serenity as you view California counterculture. This could be a perceived juxtaposition; calm alongside resistance. However, in review — unintentionally so — the tranquil psychology of blue supports these historic scenes of infamous images and figures, like Muhammad Ali, as he’s captured delivering his speech against being drafted into the US Army at the peak of his career. Or the first public use of Mace pepper spray in America targeting the face of a Black Panther. Both images taken by Suzuki, the latter was captured as Suzuki “exited the city bus in downtown Oakland, on his way to the funeral of teenage Black Panther Bobby Hutton, killed by Oakland Police Department after he had surrendered.”
Coke is the photographer who captured the original image for the wheat-pasted, 20-foot replica of Flying Morrison, positioned horizontally with his mic in hand above his head, in Long Beach’s Retro Row corridor. More of his Doors images and other works, including said mural’s progenitor, are on display at the gallery, including the band in concert, performing at “high noon at LA’s first rock festival,” during the Summer of Love at Fantasy Faire, Devonshire Downs, Northridge July 15,1967.
Between the ages of 19 to 23 years old, Coke took these photos as he both lived and witnessed 60s counterculture in all of its beauty and pain. At some point, Coke explained he put all these negatives in a box and forgot about them — maybe a result of collateral damage from the injustices he saw. It was 1991 before he found them again and went on to display them in several iterations at various venues around Long Beach and Los Angeles.
The image for Flying Morrison came from a grouping of photos that Coke took of Morrison performing at Devonshire Downs titled, Jim Morrison Scream Sequence.
“When I found (the photos) in my old darkroom after seeing the film The Doors in 1991, it was at the dawn of the digital graphics revolution,” Coke said in a press release.
He said the work took four years from discovery to completion because technology was evolving so rapidly that by the time it was first finished, it needed to be upgraded with improved scanning and newly archival printing technologies.
The exhibit also includes images from Stop the Draft Week street protests and sit-in at the doors of the US Army Induction Center, Next Stop is Vietnam, in Oakland, October 1967. Actor and donor to the Black Panthers cause, Marlon Brando is displayed as he attends the funeral of Bobby Hutton in Oakland, 1968. And see photographs of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, dressed in a suit and flip-flops, as he reads to an enthralled academic audience at the May 1967 Spring Art Fair at University of Southern California.
Know Justice, Know Peace closing reception will feature readings from:
6 p.m. — Dr. James Sauceda, professor of communication, CSULB,on the context and inspiration of the time
6:20 p.m. — Poet Fred Voss, the blue collar bard of Long Beach, reading his ode to Coke’s Flying Morrison mural.
6:40 p.m. — Performance artist Christine Elaine Vasquez (and her puppet pal, Dirty Patti), riffing on the new generation gap
Time: Venue hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat.
Details: Text— 562-343- 4967
Venue: Long Beach Senior Center, 1150 E. 4th St., Long Beach