Bash Compactor: A Wilde Time

| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:10

    Thursday’s opening at the Morrison Hotel Gallery saw a father/daughter show of prolific rock ‘n’ roll photographer Autumn De Wilde and her never-before-exhibited papa, Jerry De Wilde. A protégé of Robert Frank, the elder De Wilde documented counterculture from the Beat Generation to the flower children of the 1960s and beyond, befriending figures like Ken Kesey, Jimi Hendrix, Neal Cassady and the Mamas and the Papas along the way. Inspired by her father’s creative circle, Autumn set about documenting her own talented peers, shooting images of artists like Elliot Smith, Beck,Conor Oberst and The White Stripes that have already become part of our shared visual language in an era of diffuse culture and microfame.

    From all the hugs and laughter, it was clear this was a family affair. Mama De Wilde was there, along with her sister (known to Autumn as “Aunt Sue”) and Autumn’s young daughter.

    Many of Jerry’s old (“and I mean old,” he said) friends from “the farm” (De Wilde’s ‘60s-era compound that had attracted artists from Mama Cass to Steven Spielberg), were there, such as fellow photographer Henry Diltz, John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful and his wife, artist Catherine Sebastian. “My friendships allowed me to touch people who were exciting in those days,” Jerry said. “There was a community of people…some of them rose to iconic status, but they were all just hanging out.” Some of the most beautiful images were of relative unknowns, like a man from “the farm” pretending to play his old lady like a violin in a manner both humorous and erotic.“I had to fight with him to put it in,” the younger De Wilde said, before pointing to a picture of her father’s friend Catherine and telling the story of how Mick Jagger fell in love with her, prompting Marianne Faithfull to fly back to the States to reclaim her man.With stories like these, it’s no wonder Autumn “wasn’t going to settle for friends who are less than adventurous…a community of adventurous minds.”