Item #6846 Michael McClure’s “The Beard” . Wallace Berman.

Michael McClure’s “The Beard” 

Item #6846

[Los Angeles: Wallace Berman, 1968]. Offset. 8 5/8 x 14 1/2 in; framed to 11 1/2 x 17 1/4 in. Very good; minor wear on corners where tape has been removed. 

Poster designed by Wallace Berman for the 1968 Los Angeles premiere of Beat poet Michael McClure’s notorious play “The Beard,” directed by Robert Gist at the Warner Playhouse. 

McClure’s play “The Beard” sparked controversy for its simulated depiction of oral sex which resulted in the frequent arrests of members of its cast on charges of obscenity and public lewdness. Before being staged in Los Angeles, both its New York and San Francisco productions had been shut down; state repression only added to its legendary status. This promotional poster is one of many projects that Berman and McClure collaborated on in the 1960s—McClure often contributed poems to Berman’s art and literary journal Semina. The bare-breasted woman holding a pair of boots featured in the black and white photograph at the center of the poster is none other than Berman’s wife Shirley. .