Austin Museum of Pop Culture aims to preserve and exhibit art and artifacts that reflect Austin’s influence on the larger realm of popular culture. Located on South Lamar in the venerated 78704 zip code, the SAMPC has permanent collections dating back to the 1960s, and mount exhibitions featuring the works of some of Austin’s most exciting new artists.
The bulk of their collection is dedicated to what they consider to be the quintessential Austin art form, the music concert poster. Featuring works by Guy Juke, Billy Perkins, Danny Garrett, Henry Gonzales, Sam Yeates, Jim Franklin, and many others, the SAMPC poster collection makes a serious case for including Austin’s artists in the pantheon of poster art codified by the Fillmore in San Francisco. These works tell the history of Austin music in colorful, interpretive ways.
Other art forms are found at the SAMPC as well as poster art, including a permanent exhibit by University of Texas graduate, G.L. McElhaney. This multi-talented artist studied under sculptors Charles Umlauf and David Deming, and his work includes bronze, marble and hydrostone cast sculptures. Gonzales conceived and helped create the Dia de los Muertos wall, a permanent fixture in the parking lot beside the museum which is lined with dozens of hand-painted portraits of deceased musicians and artists from Texas, all adorned with flowers and offerings.
The museum features paintings, album covers, portraits and Ken Featherston’s giant “Peyote Dream” mural, which was recently extracted from a private home. An entire wall of the museum was torn down and built up again to keep Featherston’s work in one piece. One of the most iconic artists highlighted by the SAMPC is Texas-born Gilbert Shelton, whose famous comics, such as “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers,” are known world-wide. His work has appeared in Help!, Playboy, Zap and Rip Off comics, as well as on the walls of the Vulcan Gas Company club.
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