It’s Only Rock & Roll, But I Like It

It took me to the second-to-last day of Exhibitionism in New York City to catch this great installation about one of my favorite bands, The Rolling Stones.

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Usually, I’m not a guy who waits until the last minute, but somehow this is what happened with Exhibitionism. I’m glad I finally got to visit this comprehensive, multimedia, interactive exhibition about The Rolling Stones at Industria in New York City’s West Village, just before it moves to Chicago.

Nine thematic galleries allow visitors to take a look at “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” from many different angles. I mostly agree with the organizers that Exhibitionism is not only for Stones fans, although they will mostly appreciate it.

Things start out with a collage of videos projected on a wall, showing concert and other footage of the Stones, with commentary from different members of the band. It gets you right in the mood for more.

The next gallery is an impressive recreation of a tiny apartment in London where the Stones lived together in their early days. The mess everywhere makes it quite obvious the guys were not much concerned about cleaning.

Exhibitionism 1

The focus of the third gallery is a replica of London’s Olympic Studios packed with music equipment- pretty awesome! The gallery also features some cool vintage guitars from Keith Richards and Brian Jones, concert posters, photos and other memorabilia.

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The fourth gallery is the highlight of the installation, but I admit that as a hobby musician, I’m biased here. It revolves all around guitars, mostly from Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards. It also displays the 1963 Gibson acoustic guitar Mick Jagger used to write You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Right before you enter, you can also see Bill Wyman’s Framus semi-acoustic bass and a gorgeous Modulus fretless bass from Daryl Jones, who became a Stones touring member in 1993, following Wyman’s retirement.

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Another cool feature of this gallery are interactive mixing desks in the middle of the room. They allow you to isolate or otherwise manipulate different recording tracks, such as Jagger’s voice, Richard’s and Wood’s guitars and Watts’ drums, for various Stones songs like Rocks Off, Start Me Up and Angie.

Another gallery revolves around art work, from the iconic lips-and-tongue logo, to tour advertisements to album covers. A screening cinema presents footage from various Rolling Stones concert movies, narrated by Martin Scorsese, who has frequently used the band’s music in his motion pictures. Scorsese also shot his own Stones concert movie, Shine a Light, which documents the band’s 2006 performances at New York City’s Beacon Theatre during the A Bigger Bang Tour.

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One of the largest galleries toward the end of the exhibition presents an eclectic collection of Stones’ stage outfits over five decades. Exhibitionism also recreates a backstage area and culminates in a 3D concert experience of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. While the 3D display is a neat effect, I wish the film would use a larger screen, so the Stones would be more life-size.

Today is Exhibitionism’s last day in New York City after three months. Next it will travel to Chicago, an appropriate host city, given the Stones’ long and strong connection with the Blues. The installation will debut there at Navy Pier on April 15 for a four-month engagement. Exhibitionism had its world premiere in April 2016 at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

Here is a nice clip of Jagger, Richards, Watts and Woods discussing the exhibition and their active input in shaping it.

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube

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