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Indica Gallery

Indica Gallery

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Indica Gallery was a counterculture
Counterculture
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior...

 art gallery
Art gallery
An art gallery or art museum is a building or space for the exhibition of art, usually visual art.Museums can be public or private, but what distinguishes a museum is the ownership of a collection...

 in Mason's Yard (off Duke Street), St. James's
St. James's
St James's is an area of central London in the City of Westminster. It is bounded to the north by Piccadilly, to the west by Green Park, to the south by The Mall and St. James's Park and to the east by The Haymarket.-History:...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 during the late 1960s, in the basement of the Indica Bookshop co-owned by John Dunbar, Peter Asher
Peter Asher
Peter Asher is an English guitarist, singer, manager and record producer. He first came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the vocal duo Peter and Gordon before going on to a successful career as a record producer.-Early life:He was born at the Central Middlesex Hospital, a child actor and...

 and Barry Miles
Barry Miles
Barry Miles is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subject of the 1960s London underground. He has written numerous books and his work has also regularly appeared in left-wing papers such as The Guardian...

. It was supported by Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

 and hosted a show of Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

's work in November 1966 at which Ono first met John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

.

The International Times
International Times
International Times was an underground newspaper founded in London in 1966. Editors included Hoppy, David Mairowitz, Pete Stansill, Barry Miles, Jim Haynes and playwright Tom McGrath...

 newspaper was started in the basement of the Indica bookshop.

Indica Books and Gallery


Miles had been running the bookshop and alternative happenings venue Better Books
Better Books
Better Books was an independent bookstore. It was founded by Tony Godwin and was located at 94 Charing Cross Road, London.-History:It was founded by British publisher Tony Godwin who took over the premises at 94 Charing Cross Road, London, in 1946....

 but with new, more traditional, owners arriving, had been planning to open his own bookstore/venue. Through Paolo Leonni, Miles met John Dunbar who was planning on opening a gallery, and with John's friend Peter Asher as silent partner, they combined their ideas into a company called Miles, Asher and Dunbar Limited (MAD) to start the Indica Books and Gallery in September 1965, as an outlet for art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 and literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

. They found empty premises at 6 Masons Yard, which was in the same courtyard as the Scotch of St James
Scotch of St James
The Scotch of St James club was a popular meeting place for rock musicians during the mid 1960s situated at 13 Masons Yard, Westminster, London SW1...

 club, where John Dunbar was leaving with his girlfriend Marianne Faithful, when he discovered the place.

McCartney's involvement


Whilst living in the Asher family house, 57 Wimpole Street, Paul McCartney became involved with the emerging underground
UK underground
The Underground was a countercultural movement in the United Kingdom linked to the underground culture in the United States and associated with the hippie phenomenon. Its primary focus was around Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill in London...

 scene in London and the setting up of the bookshop/gallery. McCartney was the Indica bookshop's first customer - before it even had premises - as he used to look through the books at night, stored in the Ashers' basement, and leave a note for the books he had taken to be put on his account. Some of the first books he bought were Ed Sanders
Ed Sanders
Ed Sanders is an American poet, singer, social activist, environmentalist, author and publisher and has been a longtime member of the band The Fugs. He has been called a bridge between the Beat and Hippie generations.-Biography:...

 "Peace Eye Poems", "and the Mind" by Deropp, and "Gandhi on Non-violence". The wood that was needed for the shelves and shop counter
Countertop
Countertop usually refers to a horizontal worksurface in kitchens or other food preparation areas, bathrooms or lavatories, and workrooms in general. It is frequently installed upon and supported by cabinets...

 was picked up from the lumber yard
Lumber yard
A lumber yard is a retail location for lumber and wood related products used in construction and/or home improvement projects. Lumber yards can also provide services such as the use of a planer and other large machines....

 by Dunbar and Miles in McCartney's Aston Martin
Aston Martin
Aston Martin Lagonda Limited is a British manufacturer of luxury sports cars, based in Gaydon, Warwickshire. The company name is derived from the name of one of the company's founders, Lionel Martin, and from the Aston Hill speed hillclimb near Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire...

 car. Artists such as Pete Brown
Pete Brown
Peter Ronald Brown is an English performance poet and lyricist.Best known for his collaborations with Jack Bruce, Brown also worked with The Battered Ornaments, formed his own group Pete Brown & Piblokto!, and worked with Graham Bond and Phil Ryan. Brown also writes film scores and formed a film...

 also helped in the renovation of the Indica, and Brown remarked that as he was helping to paint the interior, he would often look over his shoulder and see McCartney, who also frequently visited the Scotch, sawing a piece of wood.

McCartney's girlfriend, Peter Asher's sister Jane Asher
Jane Asher
Jane Asher is an English actress. She has also developed a second career as a cake decorator and cake shop proprietor.-Early life:...

, donated the shop's first cash till
Cash register
A cash register or till is a mechanical or electronic device for calculating and recording sales transactions, and an attached cash drawer for storing cash...

, which was an old Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 till that she had played with as a young girl. McCartney helped to draw the flyers
Flyer (pamphlet)
__notoc__A flyer or flier, also called a circular, handbill or leaflet, is a form of paper advertisement intended for wide distribution and typically posted or distributed in public place....

 - which were used to advertise the Indica's opening - and also designed the wrapping paper
Wrapping Paper
"Wrapping Paper" is a song with music composed by Jack Bruce and lyrics by Pete Brown, performed by Cream and originally released as a single in 1966 with "Cat's Squirrel" as the B side. It is featured on The Very Best of Cream...

. Barry Miles
Barry Miles
Barry Miles is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subject of the 1960s London underground. He has written numerous books and his work has also regularly appeared in left-wing papers such as The Guardian...

 later introduced McCartney to the works of William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression...

, and their conversations were infused with subjects such as Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, drugs, and 'pataphysics, which McCartney later put into the lyrics of Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is a song by The Beatles, on their album, Abbey Road, sung by Paul McCartney. It was written by McCartney, though credited to Lennon–McCartney.-Background:...

. After one evening at Lennox Gardens, McCartney had an idea that he told to John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 the next day, which was an album title called "McCartney goes too far", which Lennon thought was a great title, and insisted that McCartney should do it.

Indica Bookshop


In 1966, the Indica bookshop was separated from the Indica Gallery, and moved to 102 Southampton Row
Southampton Row
Southampton Row is major thoroughfare running northwest-southeast in Bloomsbury, Camden, central London, England. The road is designated as part of the A4200.- Location :To the north, Southampton Row adjoins the southeast corner of Russell Square...

 in the summer of 1966.

2006 exhibition


An exhibition at Riflemaker (a gallery on Beak Street, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

) in November 2006 re-visits Indica 40 years after it was closed. It includes work by the original artists including Liliane Lijn
Liliane Lijn
Liliane Lijn , is a prominent American-born artist who was the first woman artist to work with kinetic text , exploring both light and text as early as 1962...

, Boyle Family/Mark Boyle and Carlos Cruz-Diez
Carlos Cruz-Díez
Carlos Cruz-Diez is a Venezuelan kinetic and op artist. He lives in Paris. He has spent his professional career working and teaching between both Paris and Caracas. His work is represented in museums and public art sites internationally...

as well as a younger generation of artists whose work relates to some of the ideas first presented there.

External links