Rolling Stones ‘do a Bowie’ and announce career-spanning London exhibition

The Rolling Stones – Exhibitionism will include more than 500 objects from the band’s six-decade history

History men … the Rolling Stones in 1971. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives

You might think rock stars can gain enough affirmation (and cash) from their music. Take the Rolling Stones, with estimated career album sales north of 250m, a catalogue that includes some of rock’n’roll’s best loved albums – Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street among them – and the second, ninth and 10th highest-grossing tours of all time under their belts. That presence in popular culture, however, isn’t quite enough.

The band have now announced The Rolling Stones – Exhibitionism, in which they have given access to their archive for a show that opens at the Saatchi Gallery in London on 6 April 2016. The exhibition will run across nine galleries over two floors, and will contain more than 500 artefacts from the band’s history. It is being billed as an “interactive tour through the Rolling Stones’ vast artistic oeuvre”.

“We’ve been pretty hands-on in this,” said Mick Jagger. “We’ve looked at lots of proposals, ways of presenting these things. And we’ve changed a lot of the ideas that were originally presented and substituted with them our own. I think that’s good.”

The Rolling Stones – Exhibitionism has been three years in the planning. The finished exhibition will include original stage designs, dressing room and backstage paraphernalia; rare guitars and instruments, iconic costumes, rare audio tracks and unseen video clips; personal diaries and correspondence; original poster and album cover artwork, and unique cinematic presentations. It will also include work from their collaborations with the likes of Andy Warhol, Shepard Fairey, Alexander McQueen, Ossie Clark, Tom Stoppard and Martin Scorsese.

“We’ve been thinking about it for quite a long time but wanted it to be just right and on a large scale just like planning our touring concert productions,” Jagger said. “I think that right now it’s an interesting time to do it.”

“While this is about the Rolling Stones, it’s not necessarily just about the members of the band,” Keith Richards said. “It’s also about all the paraphernalia and technology associated with a band like the instruments that have passed through our hands over the years, that will make the exhibition really interesting.”

Young man blues … Keith Richards laughing with Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Bill Wyman backstage during an early Rolling Stones tour, December 1963. Photograph: Chris Ware/Getty Images

agger said the exhibition would include some “really silly things … and really I mean silly”. Not all band members were able to contribute as much as others: “I’ve got more Louis Armstrong stuff than I have Rolling Stones,” said Charlie Watts.

The band – who are currently touring the US on their Zip Code tour – denied that being memorialised in a gallery spelled the end of their career as a working group. “I don’t think it means it’s all over just because you’re doing a sort of retrospective exhibition,” Jagger said. “I think, you know, we’re still working and still doing shows and I think we will continue to do so.”

“It would be lovely if it was [the end of the band], but I have a feeling it won’t be,” Watts said.

The Rolling Stones – Exhibitionism follows the hugely successful David Bowie Is … exhibition, which ran at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London from March-August 2013, attracting 311,000 visitors and breaking advance ticket-sales records, before being taken on tour to São Paulo, Chicago, Paris (where it is now running at the Philharmonie de Paris/Cité de la Musique) and, finally, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands. While in Chicago, it became the most successful exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s history, attracting 193,000 people during a 15-week run.

Via The Guardian

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