Exhibitionism is a celebration of the creative life of The Rolling Stones, a band that’s rocked the world for over half a century.
Two floors at London’s Saatchi Gallery showcase their culture. The lads’ dynamic relationship over the decades has kept their music alive for succeeding generations of fans.
“It’s still such a joy to play with this band that you can’t really let go of it.” – Keith Richards
Though the lineup has changed since their formation, the core of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood (who joined in 1975) continue to flourish.
This immersive, immensely colourful and loud exhibit is just wonderful to tour if you’re in town.
In the spring of 1962, Brian Jones placed an ad in Jazz News inviting musicians to audition for a new R&B group. The resulting band that emerged – Mick, Keith, Brian, Ian Stewart and Dick Taylor (who was replaced by Bill Wyman) played their first gig as the Rollin’ Stones at the Marquee Club in July 1962. The rest… is only rock ‘n’ roll.
You’ll see their very messy apartment digs specially recreated for the exhibit, with crazy attention to detail down to opened packs of Maltesers, unfinished plates of grub and piles of cigarette butts.
Prized exhibit items include Brian Jones’ 1966 vox dulcimer, harmony stratotome and harmonica.
The metamorphosis of the infamous tongue logo is captured via designer John Pasche, who received a letter requesting a meeting with Mick regarding a new logo. The very simple, iconic image is one of the most widely recognized around the globe, withstanding the test of time amidst a sea of branding.
Andy Warhol’s iconic Sticky Fingers zipper album cover artwork is here too, along with some great anecdotes by Mick.
Imagine THIS gig: The Rolling Stones, James Brown & the Flames, The Supremes, The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Leslie Gore, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and Marvin Gaye.
Posters, video production, backstage, costumes, props, original lyric sheets, tape masters and so many other artifacts fill several rooms, culminating in a live 3D experience. In the recording room, I was surprised to learn that Beast of Burden was also known as Feel So Fine while the song was being mixed and produced for Some Girls.
Guitar fans will love the collection on display here. The late Jesse Ed Davis (who played in Taj Mahal’s band) gifted Ronnie a 1956 Gibson guitar aka “Les Paul Special Jesse Ed”.
Also included is Mick Jagger’s 1963 Gibson Hummingbird, used to write Sympathy for the Devil, Can’t Always Get What You Want, Sweet Virginia and Dead Flowers. True to its name, the guitar’s got a beautifully etched hummingbird and flower on its pick guard. In addition to the guitars are personal instruments collected by Mick plus the band’s bass players Bill Wyman and Darryl Jones.
You’ll also notice very few images in this post. There’s no photo or video recording allowed. I snuck a couple in here; the rest were taken outside the gallery entrance.
This is the first international exhibit for the Stones and if we’re lucky, it may just travel overseas one day. For now, it’s on display at Saatchi Gallery on King’s Road though September 4, 2016.
My Exhibitionism ticket admission was courtesy of Visit Britain. Opinions, as always, are my own.