Woodstock & Beyond: The Visionary Art of Mike Frankel

The period of a person’s life when they’re in college is often associated with exploring new kinds of music, sexuality, newly found freedom, and using substances for the first time (legal ones after you turn 21 of course). But teenagers and young adults today are nothing compared to the wild, young, and free spirits of the 1960’s.

If you were to go back to Monmouth University (or as it was called then, Monmouth College) 50 years ago today, instead of talking about the Jonas Brothers and Post Malone concerts, you would hear every student on campus talking about the concert of the year, Woodstock. In celebration of the 50 year anniversary, students, Long Branch residents, art enthusiasts, Woodstock fans, and the general public alike all gathered at the Pollock Gallery to celebrate the opening of the Woodstock and Beyond exhibit on campus on Sept. 27.

Woodstock and Beyond is an exposition in Pollak Gallery of photographs taken by Mike Frankel, at Woodstock, along with notable concerts in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The gallery was put together in celebration of both an incredibly talented photographer’s life work and the 50th anniversary of a historic event.

When you walk in, you’re greeted by gleaming photos on every wall. The photos displayed have been printed directly from the original versions taken on 35 mm transparencies onto metal sheets. I was confused at first as to why they were printed onto metal and not canvas, but once you see the photos in person the reason is literally and figuratively, clear. The quality and finish of the photos makes them look almost as if they’re a window pane with the subject of the photo standing behind it.

However, the true highlight of the gallery is the contents of the photos. Each of them were taken during and around the Woodstock festival, and embody every element of the event’s atmosphere. Some notable artists featured are Rod Stewart, Ronie Wood, and Alice Cooper.

The photographer himself, Mike Frenkel, attended the gallery’s opening. He, much like his photos, looked like he’s pulled right out of the Woodstock era.

You could spot him right away, dressed in a leather jacket, black jeans, and a long psychedelic scarf. It’s additionally clear how passionate he is about the art, because he walked around the exhibit smiling, surrounded by people talking with him about the good ole days and the gallery. This exhibit is just one of many Woodstock remembrance attractions on campus and in the Long Branch area, which you can find on the Monmouth University Website.

The gallery is worth stopping by, whether you’re a Woodstock enthusiast or not. If not for the musical icons themselves, then for the windows they provide into the past.

Woodstock and Beyond is on display at Pollak Gallery through Dec. 13.

IMAGE TAKEN by Gabriella Pisacane