Feb 08, 2024 - Sale 2658

Sale 2658 - Lot 34

Price Realized: $ 1,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,000

ALLEN GINSBERG (1926-1997)

A Ritual Pentagon Exorcism.
Offset lithograph poster. 610x610 mm, 24x24 inches. 1967.

Like a mandala, the poster's concentric circles include images of Allen Ginsberg, Uncle Sam [arrayed in a pentagon formation], Tuli Kupferberg, and mushroom clouds emanating from a skull and crossbones at the center. The poster was created for "The Great Exorcism and Levitation of the Pentagon," an event conceived of by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Ed Sanders and other members of the political "New Left" in protest of the Vietnam War, and planned to coincide with the much larger "Stop the Draft Week" protest. On Saturday, October 21, 1967, at least 100,000 people gathered in front of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War and to participate in the exorcism and levitation ritual designed by Sanders. Considered one of the most "significant political demonstrations" of its era, it was at this event that the renowned, Pulitzer Prize-nominated photograph of a young man putting a carnation into the barrel of a National Guardsman's rifle was taken.

As Ginsberg later stated, "The levitation of the Pentagon was a happening that demystified the authority of the military. . . The Pentagon was symbolically levitated in people's minds in the sense that it lost its authority which had been unquestioned and unchallenged until then. But once that notion was circulated in the air and once the kid put his flower in the barrel of the kid looking just like himself but tense and nervous, the authority of the Pentagon psychologically was dissolved."