Art exhibit to feature Mystic Arts World: Their Mystic Artists created “works of that wild period” 

Orange Sunshine and the Mystic Artists, 1967-1970, is the first exhibition to examine the art produced by the Mystic Artists. There will be a special opening reception and panel discussion on Saturday, July 25. Mark your calendar!

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Submitted photos

Mystic Arts World (1967-1970), a head shop in Laguna Beach, was ground zero for psychedelic culture in southern California during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was there that a loosely organized group of artists interested in alternative culture, mystical experience and the transformation of society, “The Mystic Artists”, congregated and exhibited their art. Their artistic expression ranged from Beat assemblage to figuration to psychedelic art. 

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Dion Wright

“Starseed”

This exhibition, consisting of works of art by artists that exhibited at the Mystic Arts World, and related artifacts that reveal the context of the times, will be on view at Coastline Community College at 1515 Monrovia Avenue in Newport Beach from July 25 to Sept 26.

The exhibition owes a debt to the 2010 publication by Nicholas Schou of the book Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and ACID to the World.  Schou’s book was the first to document the small group of surfer hippies based in Laguna Beach called The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, who helped shape psychedelic culture in southern California. 

The Brotherhood, later dubbed the “Hippie Mafia,” developed concurrently with the Mystic Artists and took the Mystic Arts World as their headquarters. But while the Mystic Artists inevitably set the visual context for The Brotherhood, ultimately the utopian goals of the individual artists differed from that of the Brotherhood, who over time diverted their efforts to pioneering an international drug trade.

According to former Mystic Arts World gallery director Dion Wright, who collaborated on the exhibition: “While it lasted, Mystic Arts World was a focus of seminal, sometimes cosmological, and always super-conscious Art. This writer was dragooned into service early-on by John Griggs, who was determined to feature my Taxonomic Mandala within Mystic Arts World, and feature me personally as the maître d’ of presenting ‘far out, outtasight’ works of Art. What you see in this exhibition is a collection of surviving works of that wild period.”

Paul Darrow

The exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of presenting sponsor RVCA. Additional generous support comes from the Croul Family Foundation, Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom, an Anonymous donor, Jennifer Vaughn and Larry Gonzalaz, the William Gillespie Foundation, Grand Central Art Forum, and Mary E.M. Houseal. Orange Sunshine and the Mystic Artists is curated by Bolton Colburn for Coastline Community College.

Artists who exhibited at the Mystic Arts World (MAW) included Carol Abrams, Isaac Abrams, Richard Aldcroft, Roger Armstrong, Jan Peters Babcock, Tom Blackwell, Mark Blumenfeld, Robert Ronnie Branaman, Jane Callender, Italo d’Andrea, Paul Darrow, Louis Delsarte, Khigh Alx Dhiegh, Philip Freeman, Ray Friesz, Louis Goodman, Reuben Greenspan, Bill Groves, George Herms, R.L. “Holly” Hollingsworth, Robert Jocko Johnson, Julie Kahn, Steve Kensrue, Karen Kozlow, Terry Lamb, Bob Laney, Ed Lutz, Robert McCarron, Joe Miller, Dwight Morouse, Jim Nussbaum, Harve Parks, Beth Pewther, Noble Richardson, Larry Rink, David Rosen, R.L. Bob Ross, Mary Riker Segal, Gayl Stenlund, Gerd Stern, Jon Stokesbary, Wiktor Sudnik, John Upton, Gordon Wagner, Andy Wing, Dion Wright, and Bob Young. A small section of the exhibition will include the posters and graphics that Bill Ogden did for the Brotherhood and Mystic Arts World.

The panel moderated by the original Mystic Arts World Gallery Director, Dion Wright, will include many of the people involved with the Brotherhood and MAW, on Saturday, July 25 at 6 p.m.

The public opening reception for Orange Sunshine and the Mystic Artists will be on 

Sept 2, when Nicholas Schou, author of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and ACID to the World, will talk about his book.

The exhibition runs from July 26 – September 26 at Coastline Art Gallery, Coastline Community College, 1515 Monrovia Avenue, Newport Beach.

 

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