Thanks to Robert Altman -- the Rolling Stone photographer, not the film director -- San Francisco's Summer of Love will never be forgotten, no matter how many drugs coursed through how many fried neural cortexes back in 1967. Altman had a front-row seat to the swinging decade, and his images of communes, protests, rock shows, and love-ins are so iconic that they have the grainy quality of shared memory. He shot Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Jane Fonda, Cesar Chavez, and The Cockettes. He captured the first rave, the People's Park riot, and the 1969 Black Panther rally at the Federal Building. But it's his photographs of anonymous hippies frolicking in places like Golden Gate Park or Mount Tamalpais that most evoke the innocent-seeming spirit of the era, with naked babies bathed in sunbeams and bare-chested men dancing with abandon. The black-and-white prints at the exhibit "Robert Altman's Sixties" evidence what the photographer describes as a period of "extended adolescence," full of rapture, angst, weirdness, and a lot of long hair. It was a decade when the whole world was watching, and so was Robert Altman.
Jan. 10-Feb. 9, 2008