Chicago Theatre Review
Rolling Stones – Exhibitionism
Exhibitionism tells the story of the most influential rock ‘n’ roll band in history, allowing visitors to experience first- hand their incredible journey from early days living together in a tiny flat to headlining the biggest stages in the world. Exhibitionism continues the Stones’ proud tradition of groundbreaking innovation combined with the highest production values.
Originated and produced by Australian-based iEC Exhibitions! with the full participation of Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie, and curated by New York native Ileen Gallagher, this highly immersive and interactive exhibition explores the Stones’ extraordinary career featuring over 500 rare and original items from their archive.
From their most cherished instruments, onstage and offstage clothes, valuable works of art and handwritten lyric books to personal diaries, recordings, unseen film and photos, a screening cinema and interactive recording studio that all culminate in an exciting and powerful backstage-to-onstage 3D concert experience.
“We’ve been thinking about this for quite a long time but we wanted it to be just right and on a large scale,” said Mick. “It’s not going to be like walking into a museum. It’s going to be an event, an experience. It’s about a sense of The Rolling Stones – it’s something we want people to go away talking about it.”
“While this is about The Rolling Stones, it’s not necessarily only just about us,” said Keith. “It’s also about all the paraphernalia and technology associated with a group like us, and it’s this, as well as the instruments that have passed through our hands over the years, that should make the exhibition unforgettable.”
Over the past 50 years, The Rolling Stones became, and have remained, one of the most culturally important acts in history. From the daring white dress worn by Mick Jagger in 1969, to the seminal Sticky Fingers (1971) album cover to their iconic tongue and lips logo, up to their chart-topping latest album Blue and Lonesome released in December 2016, The Rolling Stones have continued to break the boundaries of cultural norms throughout their incredible career.
The original works of key collaborators who helped to make the band not just musical but cultural icons are also on display, including Andy Warhol, John Pasche, who designed the band’s iconic tongue logo, fashion designers Ossie Clark and Alexander McQueen, artist Shepard Fairey, producer Don Was, and film director Martin Scorsese.
Exhibitionism gives visitors a look back at the high points of the band’s career through a new film, with a high-octane soundtrack. It then steps back into the early days, to an amazing recreation of the Edith Grove flat that Mick, Keith and Brian shared in 1962. The flat was located just off the King’s Road in London’s Chelsea neighborhood.
“Exhibitionism is a celebration and thematic exploration of the creative life of a band that has managed both to stay current and stay true to its artistic vision for more than half a century,” said curator, Ileen Gallagher.
“This was such a unique opportunity to collaborate with the band and get their insights into the project,” continues Gallagher. “The quotes on the wall and all of the text in the exhibition is in the voice of the band or people who work very closely with them. You’re actually having the band tell you what happened at the time.”
There is a recreation of a Stones’ recording studio complete with their original instruments, plus a “backstage” area to give fans a sense of what it truly feels like just before the band heads out on stage. A guitar gallery brings together examples of some of Keith, Ronnie and Mick’s prized instruments, including a rosewood Fender Telecaster and a Maton that Keith played on Let It Bleed, which famously disintegrated as he reached the final notes of ‘Gimme Shelter.’
Other unique items include the cassette player on which Keith famously sketched out the idea for ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, just before falling asleep in a Florida motel room, Mick’s lyric book which features the hand written words for ‘Miss You’, ‘Hey Negrita’ and ‘Worried About You,’ Keith’s 1963 diary, and the toy drum kit that Charlie used in the recording of ‘Street Fighting Man.’
DHL is the Presenting and Official Logistics Partner of Exhibitionism and is using the power of its global network to transport Exhibitionism to Chicago and beyond. “As the world’s most international logistics company, DHL is thrilled to be bringing Exhibitionism to Chicago, a city that’s renowned for its rich music history,” said Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas. “The Stones were the consummate professionals as musicians – they made it all look so easy. DHL has a similar workstyle of ‘excellence, simply delivered’ – no matter how complex the logistics.”
Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®), a leading provider of retirement products, will serve as the official U.S. Sponsor. “For Jackson, sponsoring the exhibit is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the creative and age-defying journey of true rock-and-roll legends,” said Barry Stowe, CEO of Jackson. “By embracing the living legacy of The Rolling Stones, Jackson can connect on a deep emotional level with a generation that is defined by these very ideals. The baby boomers helped to usher in one of the most powerful eras of change and disruption in music, culture and philosophy. As a company focused on helping baby boomers plan for the next phase of their lives, we are pleased to be able to bring to North America this world-class exhibit focused on an artistic and cultural phenomenon that helped define and shape a generation.”
Navy Pier, the top destination attraction in the Midwest, will be home to Exhibitionism for Chicagoans and tourists alike. “At Navy Pier, we take great pride in offering dynamic and eclectic experiences to our 9 million plus annual guests,” said Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO of Navy Pier, Inc. “The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism Tour aligns perfectly with our goal of bringing unique programming to the Pier that creates experiences our guests will value and cherish for a lifetime. We look forward to opening the doors to Chicago’s lakefront treasure and welcoming art and music fans from near and far to view this one-of-a-kind exhibit.”
Choose Chicago will work with Exhibitionism to immerse visitors into the largest touring exhibition of its kind ever to be staged at nearly 18,000 square feet. “Core to Chicago’s brand and history is our amazing tradition of music – from the birthplace of the Blues and Jazz to the continued evolution of all forms of music and entertainment today – on our stages, on our festival grounds and in our nightclubs,” said David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago. “Having the privilege of hosting The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism gives us a tremendous platform to provide visitors with not only anew reason to visit, but also a compelling opportunity to experience it in the heart of our city at Navy Pier – one of the most successful attractions in the United States.”
The Rolling Stones officially opened Exhibitionism, delivered by DHL, on April 5, 2016 at London’s Saatchi Gallery and played through September 4. Giving it a four-star review, The Daily Telegraph called it, “The most magnificent multi-sensory barrage of Stones ‘stuff’ you’re ever likely to encounter.” The Guardian exclaimed it as, “genuinely jaw-dropping” with the Daily Mail adding that it is “The most comprehensive and immersive insight into the band’s fascinating fifty-year history.”
Exhibitionism is currently playing New York City’s Industria in the West Village through March 12, 2017. Rolling Stone says Exhibitionism is “An elaborate and immersive Stones exhibit;” Good Morning America raves its “Spectacular;” Billboard says “’Exhibitionism is an enthralling look at decades of rock history that even diehards can learn from!” and People.com says “The exhibit is the closest you’ll get to hanging out with the band at key moments in their history.”
***** Whether your a fan of the stones or not be sure to catch this exciting exhibit here until July 30.
Visit http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/ for more information on Chicago or New York.