NEW YORK — Fans of The Rolling Stones can get some satisfaction this winter.
The British rock icons will release their first album in a decade, Blue & Lonesome, Dec. 2, featuring blues covers and guest spots by Eric Clapton. Before then, fans in the United States can immerse themselves in Stones' lore by way of Exhibitionism, the biggest display of the band's memorabilia ever mounted. Coming off a five-month London run earlier this year, Exhibitionism opens Saturday at New York's Industria event space in the West Village, where roughly 500 costumes, instruments, diaries and art pieces from the Stones' five-decade career will be on display until March 12.
"The fact that in each decade, they've managed to reinvent themselves and stay current with art and design and pretty much aspect of our culture, really gives them resonance," says curator Ileen Gallagher. "I don't think you can really say that about any other rock 'n' roll band."
USA TODAY toured the exhibition ahead of its New York opening. Among the highlights:
Five decades of fashion. The most eclectic display is reserved for wardrobe, starting with the band's simple, black-and-white checkered jackets they wore when they were starting out but quickly abandoned. "They realized they didn't want to be cookie-cutter," Gallagher says. "They wanted to each have their own individual style." As the years wore on, they moved into gaudier, custom-made costumes, including Mick Jagger's embroidered jumpsuits by Ossie Clark and black-and-red Sympathy for the Devil ensembles from the likes of Versace and Prada.
The Stones' increasingly flashy getups are chronicled.
Instrumental artifacts. The expansive guitar gallery includes Jagger's 1963 Gibson Hummingbird, on which he wrote You Can't Always Get What You Want; Wood's 1974 Disc Front Zemaitis, engraved with a pirate's treasure map; and Keith Richards' 1957 Gibson Les Paul, which he hand-painted with a colorful, ornate design. "As he tells the story, he was waiting to go to jail and he was bored, so he was painting a pair of boots that he had," Gallagher says. "He had taken some acid, finished the boots and started on his guitar."
Jaw-dropping artwork. In the wall-to-wall poster gallery, fans can walk through decades of tour advertisements and get a glimpse into the creative process behind controversial album covers such as 1983's Undercover (which features a vintage nude pin-up) and 1978's Some Girls (redesigned after using images of Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball without permission). The Stones' iconic lips-and-tongue logo, created by John Pasche, is also featured prominently throughout, most imposingly on a giant gorilla painting by Walton Ford (used as the cover for 2012's GRRR! greatest-hits album).
What would a Stones exhibit be without John Pasche's
What would a Stones exhibit be without John Pasche's famous lips and tongue design? (Photo: The Rolling Stones)
Step back in time. Two rooms within the exhibit give guests a small taste of what it actually might feel like to be the Stones. One display painstakingly recreates the band's disheveled Edith Grove apartment in London, complete with empty beer and milk bottles strewn across the table and a replica of Richards' destroyed guitar. Nearby, fans can walk into a reproduction of the Stones' backstage area, before watching a 3-D performance of Satisfaction.
Odds and ends. Some of the most delightful finds in the Exhibitionism showcase do not have entire rooms set aside for them. Nestled between the poster gallery and fashion aisle are band lithographs, pencil sketches and paintings created by Andy Warhol in the 1960s. Messy lyric books from the group's Some Girls album give fans a peek into the songwriting process, while early fan-club questionnaires show the guys' modest ambitions starting out. "Charlie (Watts) talks about wanting to own a pink Cadillac," Gallagher says. "That was one of his aspirations."
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