After more than 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll, the Rolling Stones are still pushing boundaries, with their first exhibition showcasing hundreds of items from their long-running career, from Mick Jagger’s jumpsuits to Keith Richards’ guitars.
Billed as the “first ever major exhibition by (the group) and the largest touring exhibition of its kind ever to be staged”, Exhibitionism opens up the Stones world to fans – from their early, impoverished days sharing a rundown London flat in 1962 to backstage at their multimillion-dollar concerts.
Guitars played by Richards and Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts’ drum kit and Jagger’s lyric book are on show at London’s Saatchi Gallery in the show, which opened yesterday.
About three years in the making, it features more than 500 items from the band’s archives.
“Obviously, it’s not infinite, but it’s still going and we’re trying to push things that have never been,” said Jagger, 72. “I don’t think there’s been anything like this (exhibition) before. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t think so. So, you know, still trying to push boundaries a bit.”
A re-creation of their concert backstage area – with make-up table, audio instructions, guitars – leads to a 3D experience of seeing the band rock onstage to (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
The exhibition also recreates the messy London flat Richards and Jagger shared with late founding band member Brian Jones, with dirty plates piled up and unmade beds.
“It’s an incredible walk through your own life, you know? For me, it’s quite emotional in a way,” Richards, 72, said.
Fans can also peek inside a Rolling Stones studio and see a selection of classic album covers, tour posters, Andy Warhol works and depictions of the band’s tongue-and-lips logo.
Their colorful fashion is also featured – from Watts’ 1966 tartan suit to Jagger’s 1972 velvet jumpsuit, Richards’ 1994 antelope coat and Wood’s 2005 embroidered jacket – with many other elaborate concert outfits on display.
“There’s a magic that happens every time we get together for rehearsals, for a new tour or when we go in the studio,” Wood, 68, said of the band’s enduring success.
The four were at the show’s gala opening on Monday after completing a Latin America tour, which ended with a concert in Cuba.
They are now “a lot softer, a lot wiser”, said Watts, 74, but have no plans to retire just yet.
“Hopefully… we’ll never give up. They’ll have to shovel us in the grave. We feel like we’re still evolving and I think you have to feel that way,” Richards said. “Every show that you do, you say the next one is going to be a little bit better.”
Wood revealed that the band will issue a new album this year, Billboard reported. They have been in the studio and recorded some new material and some blues covers.
Exhibitionism runs till Sept 4, after which it will tour 11 cities around the world over four years. (Reuters)