I certainly could not lose The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism, I followed it on the web since the beginning. So last week I flew to London, for a few days. I have several friends in town but one in particular, Marcello, is A Stones fan as me, so I waited two days until he had an entire day off to come with me at the Saatchi Gallery.
Exhibitionism, the exhibition about The Rolling Stones
Exhibitionism is a journey through more than 50 years in which, through objects, music and suggestions is recreated a magical atmosphere and the chameleon Rolling Stones’s style. In practice, is not only a display of objects, it is more like walking along their career in a dynamic and interactive way, as well as fun.
The exhibition is divided into nine thematic rooms with more than 500 objects ranging from personal diaries, tools, costumes and notes they took while recording in studio. But there is something more, like some stages prototypes and Art Covers.
Rooms number 1 and 2 Ladies & Gentlemen + Guitars
The Start of the exhibition is characterized by a first room with a huge neon sign “Ladies and gentlemen,” and on the two sides walls are respectively indicated in a dynamic video / sound way all the albums and the map with the tour kilometers covered in the 54-years of their career. An exciting, powerful and evocative introduction even for those who know them very well.
After that, immediately, you are catapulted into a second room with walls covered with guitars.
The first guitars that I observed are those of Keith Richards that are a summary of his sound evolution, from the first Epiphones, to Gibsons, Fenders and a fantastic handmade five-string guitar.
In the room there is a beautiful Mick Jagger’s acoustic guitar that you can easily find in the Nellcôte photos during Exile on Main Street sessions and some of his harmonics. Finally there are Ronnie Wood’s beautiful guitars.
At this point the room seems to end but at the center there is something like a Tablet with headphones that simulate a multi 8-track in which you can listen to 8 tracks of the band including Angie, Sympathy for the Devil and others. With the mixer you can isolate all the tools or, if you like, you can mix it up. I had a lot of fun playing that! Marcello and I were there for a while.
Room number 3 Edith Grove
Now you will be ready to back in Time to the ’60. Rewind the clocks because in a few steps you will arrive in the first battered house where the Rolling Stones have lived at the beginning of their career.
Meticulously rebuilt according to the band memories, Edith Grove, is like the start of the games. In this room you will find Keith Richards’ notebooks, the first record agreement and the first LP recorded with the name of The Rolling Stones. There are photos, posters and a glittering Charlie Watts drum set. That’s an Emotion after another. Believe me.
Room number 4 Recording
In this room you’ll find yourself outside a recording studio, rounded by notes, recorders and the first Long Playing (prototype) of Exile in Main Street. If you are intrested like me in technology, you can also listen to the memories of the band plus Don Was, the current Rolling Stones producer, who will talk about how the huge reel to reel sixties has rapidly switched to lower case and digital technologies. Very interesting is the Keith Richards memory about the multi-track evolution from 2 to 24 tracks. He talks about this subject even in his book Life. At this point you will think that the show is over however you have to climb to the another floor to continue your journey.
Room number 5 Film & Video
Posters and videoclips tell the story of the band from Scorsese’s Shine a light down to Sympathy for the Devil realized by Jean-Luc Godard. Artists who are interested in other artists. Interesting interview with Martin Scorsese.
Room number 6 Art & Design
This room is dedicated to contamination, the typical Rolling Stones attitude they had since their debut. They have always carefully chosen the artists whose flank for the realization of the album covers and stuff related to the band.
You will pass from the homonymous LP recorded in 1964 to Let It Bleed and the hilarious gestation for the beautiful Some Girls cover. This section of the exhibition has room as well for the prototype of Exile on Main Street cover realized by Robert Frank. You will also find the exciting first drawings that sign the birth of the legendary logo, designed by John Pasche, at that time student of the Royal College of Art.
The Stones have always been the creative people who have been joined by other artists such as Andy Wharhol who designed some of the most famous covers for the Stones as Sticky Fingers and Love You Live. At this point of exhibitionism you will find the Stages evolution with a lot of original models proposed to the band by artists and architects. The most impressive is, in my opinion, the one created for Bridges to Babylon where I stopped for a long time. Not that the Stones are in need of a special stage to stand out, I would like to joing them in the pub around the corner! However, the intelligence with which Stage as been studied is really impressive. That’s for me a new point of view on their history and now I want to know more about.
Room number 7 Style and Costumes
This part of the exhibition presents historical clothes of the band. Marcello and I have not taken photos inside the exhibition because we were too much involved in the experience. However, he took this one while I was admiring Mick clothes. Tweed, velvet and lace have quickly given way to Mick’s stretch clothes and Keith Richards famous spotted jackets used during Voodoo Lounge sessions. The result is a faboulous blaze of fabrics and colors, as the years they just rolled by with changes of style. Not only in music.
Room number 8 Rare and Unseen
Here you’ll find rare objects and some stuff never seen before like the portable Keith Richards’ wardrobe that seems to belong to a pirate or a small toy from early XX century, a little Charlie Watts drum set. You’ll also find the barber’s chair, some of Ronnie Wood paintings and other beautiful stuff.
Room number 9 Peformance 3D
You’ll finally land in the Back Stage full of guitars, amplifiers, monitors, guitar cables, dressing rooms and then… a lovely 3D Final!
Costs and info
The Exhibition is much larger than I expected, with the 9 rooms where I spent more than 4 hours and a half. The ticket costs 23 pounds (about 30 dollars), and you’ll find Exhibitionism in the Saatchi Gallery in London, but you are almost in a hurry because it will definetly close on September 4 to fly and conquer The world.
Next Stop is New York, where it will open in November. For more details about The Exhibition please visit the official website.
Just found a Great The Rolling Stones Radio!