“PLAY IT LOUD: INSTRUMENTS OF ROCK N’ ROLL” EXHIBITION OPENING AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART IN NEW YORK CITY ON APRIL 8TH
As previously reported, the first major loan exhibition in an art museum dedicated entirely to the iconic instruments of rock and roll will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning April 8th, 2019.
Through more than 130 instruments that were used by such artists as Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Steve Miller, St. Vincent, Metallica, The Rolling Stones, and many others, Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll will explore one of the most influential artistic movements of the 20th century and the objects that made the music possible.
Organized thematically, Play It Loud will explore how musicians embraced and advanced emerging technologies; the phenomenon of the “Guitar Gods”; the crafting of a visual identity through the use of instruments; and the destruction of instruments in some live performances, one of rock’s most defining gestures. The exhibition will include many of rock’s most celebrated instruments, including such guitars as Jimi Hendrix’s electric guitar “Love Drops,” originally decorated by him; Eric Clapton’s “Blackie;” Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein;” Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf;” and Joan Jett’s “Melody Maker,” as well as drums from Keith Moon’s “Pictures of Lily” drum set. By displaying several rigs used in live performances and sound recordings, the exhibition will also demonstrate how artists created their own individual sounds, and some 40 vintage posters, costumes, and performance videos will illustrate key components of the musical movement’s visual style and impact.
Other highlights will include: Chuck Berry’s electric guitar ES-350T (1957), which was his primary guitar from 1957 until about 1963 and was used to record Johnny B. Goode; James Jamerson’s upright bass, which he likely used on many early Motown hits; Keith Emerson’s keyboard rig, consisting of the customized Moog Modular Synthesizer, electric tone-wheel organ, and rotary speakers; a reconstructed performance rig from Eddie Van Halen as it appeared onstage in 1978; Steve Miller’s electric guitar that was painted with psychedelic designs by artist Bob Cantrell by 1973; Jack Bruce’s electric bass, which was painted for him by the artist collective known as “The Fool” in 1967 while he was with Cream; St. Vincent’s electric guitar, which Annie “St. Vincent” Clark designed in collaboration with Music Man in 2015; and Jimmy Page’s dragon-embroidered costume (Los Angeles, 1975)—the elaborately hand-embroidered suit took over a year to complete and Page wore it during Led Zeppelin’s live performances from 1975 to 1977.
The exhibition will also include a sculpture made from what was left of one of Pete Townshend’s electric guitars after he smashed the instrument during a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, that was published in Rolling Stone as “How to Launch Your Guitar in 17 Steps.”
Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
For more information, please visit metmuseum.org.