Velvet Underground – 1970 Max’s Kansas City Poster, Signed By Artist

A superb and unused first printing of the iconic poster advertising the Velvet Underground’s final shows with Lou Reed, at Max’s Kansas City during June, July and August of 1970.  The group’s run was extended past the dates on this poster, and on August 23 their Live at Max’s Kansas City album was recorded (during these shows, Doug Yule’s brother Billy played drums, subbing for the pregnant Moe Tucker).

We acquired this poster directly from its designer, Steve Nelson, who at our request signed it on the back and annotated it A/P, or artist’s proof.  In his accompanying letter of authenticity, Nelson explains:

[This] is a vintage and original print of the poster I designed and published in 1970 in a single limited edition of 1000.  It is an ‘artist’s proof’, one of the initial copies from the press which I personally checked to verify that there were no errors before printing proceeded.  I retained those proofs for my private archives, and they have been in my sole possession since then.

I was the manager of the Boston Tea Party rock club in 1967-1968, and co-owner of the company which staged rock concerts at The Woodrose Ballroom in South Deerfield, Mass in 1969…I produced and promoted performances by The Velvet Underground on numerous occasions.

Because the Velvets did not perform publicly in New York City for three years before their gig at Max’s, the Tea Party in effect became their home club.  On stage there on December 12, 1968, Lou Reed declared “This is our favorite place to play in the whole country”.

I learned in the spring of 1970 that they were going to play two weeks at Max’s that summer for their long-awaited public return to New York City.  Having designed several Tea Party and Woodrose posters, I decided to create one on spec for the Max’s gig.  It was intended to resemble an ad in a NYC subway car.  I showed the design to Mickey Ruskin, the owner of Max’s, who agreed to pay me $1000. for 1000 copies of the poster.  This was the sole authorized printing of the poster until I issued a reprint in 2003…sold on Lou Reed’s website.  The reprint is distinguished from the original by the copyright notice, which I added at the bottom left of the reprint, but which does not appear on the original.  [Signed] Steve Nelson

This rare poster measures 28 1/2″ x 11″ and is in virtually mint condition, with a slight bit of waviness to the paper.  A great opportunity to own an artist-signed, fresh unused example of a highly sought-after Velvet Underground poster, with exceptional provenance.

[We also recommend Steve Nelson’s excellent memoir, Gettin’ Home: An Odyssey Through The 60’s, which has some great Velvet Underground and Boston rock stories.  Read excerpts and available at ].


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