Opening November 4 at Industria Superstudio in New York City’s Meatpacking district, Rolling Stones: Exhibitionism is a comprehensive and immersive insight into the 50-year career of what has been called ‘The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band.’ Produced by Tony Cochrane and Thea James-Cochrane of iEC and curated by Ileen Gallagher, the exhibition was designed by Pentagram and, more specifically, as a collaboration between Pentagram partners William Russell from London and Abbott Miller from New York. Exhibitionism is the largest touring experience of this kind to be staged by a band or artist. It tells the 50-year history of the Rolling Stones through a series of thematic installations that present an engaging narrative journey through the band’s career. The show moves from the Saatchi Gallery in London where it drew large crowds.
“Working closely with the band and curator Ileen Gallagher, we approached the space as if it were a set list for a concert, viewing it as a performance rather than an exhibition,” explains William Russell. “There is a range of tempos, sensations and emotions that build into one orchestrated experience: it is tactile, authentic, glamorous, messy, and suffused with the sounds and images of the band.” Adds Abbott Miller: “The exhibition’s arrangement by theme allowed us to give each room its own design aesthetic: some are loud, others calm, some are bright, others dark, and some are dense with objects, while others are very singular. These deliberate shifts of mood are unified by the voices of the band. We wanted them to be the narrators of their own story, so their quotes and voices are everywhere.”
The show surveys the band’s vast artistic oeuvre and includes original artifacts, including rare guitars and instruments, iconic costumes, rare audio tracks and unseen video clips; personal diaries and correspondence; original posters and album cover artwork, artifacts from stage and set design, and their legacy in film and video. Along with more than 500 important and previously unseen artifacts from the band’s personal archives, the exhibition takes the public through the band’s history, embracing all aspects of art and design, film, video, fashion, performance, and rare sound archives.
Pentagram collaborated closely with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts (whose first job was working as a graphic designer for Bob Gill, a Pentagram founding partner); the producers; and Ileen Gallagher. In addition, numerous other creative professionals contributed to the exhibition. These include: Finn Ross and the team at FRAY studio; longstanding Rolling Stones lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, his partner Adam Bassett and their team at Woodroffe Bassett Studio; milliner Stephen Jones, who has created the incredible head pieces for the mannequins; filmmakers Sam Pattinson and Paul Dugdale and their teams; Mick McKenna from the Rolling Stones’ archive; and exhibition builders Benchworks.