The Posters of the Grateful Dead Archive

David Singer

After Wes Wilson, David Singer (1951– ) created more posters for the Dead in the Family Dog and Bill Graham series than any other artist. From December 4, 1969 through the closing of the Fillmore West, July 4, 1971, Singer created six posters in the Bill Graham numbered series listing the Grateful Dead. Like Mouse, Singer also became enamored of the power of the Dead’s funerary imagery for posters; one of his best, an iconic image of a skeleton chasing birds, thwarted viewers’ expectations that this would be another Dead poster. It was, in a very real sense, but only by omission.

 

David Singer, BG 216, Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal, Big Foot; Brotherhood of Light, 1970.

His first effort featured a simple collage. Considered one of Singer’s more didactic images, BG 205 depicts a man’s face swallowed by red capsules, a metaphor for the all-consuming destructiveness of hard drug use. The gray and red emphasize the starkness of the message, though the gray muddles the lettering and dominates the poster, muting the impact of the image.

David Singer, BG 227, Grateful Dead, Miles Davis Quintet, Stone the Crows; Brotherhood of Light, 1970.