Over fifty years of pure rock and roll; 8 consecutive number ones, twenty four studio albums and counting; hosting one of the largest concerts to date with 1.5 million fans; 5th richest lead singer; gate crashing The Beatles’ private parties, throwing TVs out of hotel windows, drug possession to controversial long hair trends and Delia Smith’s cake on their 8th album cover. Time is certainly on their side.
The Rolling Stones will be displaying almost 6 decades of work in their exhibition entitled Exhibitionism at the Saatchi Gallery. Open from April to September 2016. Boosting it’ll be 10 times the size of V&A’s David Bowie Is… and 20 times the size of Elvis at the 02: The Exhibition of His Life. The memorabilia medley will compose of stage designs and outfits to unseen audio and video footage and album artwork. Collaborations with Musician and general icon David Bowie, pop-art founder Andy Warhol, celebrated fashion designer Alexander McQueen and film director and producer Martin Scorsese will also be on show. Exhibitionism will be a dignified look back of the bands career and how influential they are in contemporary culture, not only their music but attitude, style and their globally recognisable logo, the Hot Licks designed by John Pasche in 1970. From Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger to the protagonist Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, inspiration is no question.
The extensive Exhibitionism will show the Rolling Stones in nine themed rooms. Album artwork from the disputable graffitied toilet seat of Beggars Banquet in 1968, the original zip-opening fly of Sticky Fingers in 1971, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll in 1974 designed by artist and painter Guy Peellaert, who went on to design Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, and the first illustrations of Voodoo Lounge hand drawn by Keith Richards in 1994. Additionally showcasing their fashion timeline from the early 60s suited, booted and uniformed mop-tops, progression to a higher level of cultish costumes in Their Satanic Majesties Request album cover to Mick Jagger’s white voile finished shirt-dress which he wore for the free concert at Hyde Park in 1969, a tribute to the late Brian Jones. The 70s continued the clashing pattern, fabric and coloured co-ordinates thus developing the classic and ageless rock look, the iconic black leather jacket, black hat and drainpipe denims; Inspiring creative director of Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane. Slimane has in turn, designed tour wardrobes for Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in the past. Instruments on show will ranging from Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards’ guitars, Gibson Les Paul TV Junior nicknamed Tumbling Dice in mustard yellow, Gibson Flying V and Fender Telecaster named Micawber to the original harmonica, slide guitar, sitar, marimba and tuba Brian Jones played to record their first eight albums. Love letters from Mick Jagger to then girlfriend actress and model, Marcha Hunt in 1969 were sold in auction for £187,250 in 2012; from Hunt, Anita Pallenberg, Jerry Hall and Marianne Faithful, the love letters are probably going to be endless.
The exhibition has already had criticism for the advertisement due to censorship reasons. The image designed by English designer Mark Norton consisted of a cropped image of a woman’s bikini bottoms with the Hot Licks logo stamped on top, considered indecent says the Advertising Authorities; this poster was banned from the all London public transport. A more suitable image is in place, the Hot Licks logo has been moved to the woman’s stomach instead.
Perhaps it’s that face it’s the Rolling Stones and controversy seems to follow them everywhere – Rolling Stone’s Spokesperson
Exhibitionism, itself will be touring for four years though New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and 11 more cities. Starting off in London, in the specifically chosen Saatchi Gallery, because of Chelsea roots the band has there. In 1962 juveniles Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richards shared a flat at Edith Grove, just down the road from the gallery. Jones named the group after the, American Blues artist, Muddy Waters’ song Rollin’ Stone. Unknown to them twenty years later they would be playing with Muddy Waters himself. From rhythmic blues to rock, progressively shaping their image through their musical timeline is impressive. The Rolling Stones were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. Few known musicians match a similar time-spanning career, including their biggest competitor, The Beatles.
Lifetime award? I’ve still got 187 years in me! – Richards
The still dynamic band, with an average age of 71, back from touring in Australia and America and with plans circulating of a new album, rumored to be starting in April 2016. “These guys aren’t getting any younger but at the same time, they’ve [been] getting better”, says guitarist Richards. Their last album A Bigger Band in 2005 concluded with one of the highest grossing worldwide tours of £370 million. The band has also collaborated with sportswear and outerwear designer Moncler, with leather and bomber jackets, t-shirts and jumpers only available Browns London.
Despite unlawful advertisement, the Rolling Stones retrospective will no doubt be highly sought after as fans from all generations and all over the world join together to celebrate everyone’s favorite anarchic rock band.