"Exhibitionism" Review- The Rolling Stones exhibit at Navy Pier through July 30, 2017

The ultimate rock band’s ultimate display of artifacts, “Exhibitionism”, commemorating The Rolling Stones, currently in Festival Hall B, second floor, Navy Pier through July 30, is a treasure trove of memorabilia about the most successful and longest-lasting rock band in history. The gallery rooms filled with carefully archived material containing everything from Keith Richards’ diary to a fully-assembled recording studio flanked by participatory headsets loaded with real interviews with Their Satanic Majesties, coupled with skillfully collected videologues and music tapes, are a journey through the last 5 decades of a relationship.

Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts

Because aside from the money, the sold-out venues, the carefully crafted images- and yes, the giant tongue and cartoon gorilla are enlarged in all their glory- this is the story of 4 (once 5) young men who stuck together and made a lasting impact on the time and culture in which they lived. The voyeur of these lives can see a re-creation of a squalid London apartment from the 1960’s, then view photos of Keith’s mobile recording studio, more often lent to other bands than it was used by the lads, and realize just how far these boys came.

Exhibition in "Exhibitionism"

It makes very clear sense that such a carefully packaged entity as this group has always been would ultimately be revealed in such a splendid fashion. It seems like it’s all there, the fabulous costumes, vinyl discs, actual examples of the many, many guitars, including the Maton that disintegrated while Keith played “Gimme Shelter” on “Let it Bleed”, even a facsimile of life backstage. Three years in the making, the 17000+ square foot exhibit contains some 500 objects collected from the Rolling Stones’ band archive as well as from the private collections of the members. The films displayed span the past half-century and use novel 3D technology.

The guitars

The exhibit sports a fashion gallery with 70 original costumes, worn onstage and off, created by designers L’Wren Scott, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Gaultier, Gucci, Dior, and others. The art and design gallery holds over 190 original works of art and photography, including those by Andy Warhol, David Bailey, Jeff Koons, John Pasche, (who designed the tongue logo) and Gered Markowitz.  The exhibit screens both a new film narrated by Martin Scorsese which documents the Rolling Stones’ live performances and career as well as a new “music video highlights film” featuring 30+ promotional music videos of the Stones’, produced during their career.

The fashion gallery

 “Exhibitionism” culminates in a 3D “concert experience” right before exit through the gift shop, showing the group performing "Satisfaction" live in Hyde Park in 2013. It made this reviewer long to hear the music live, to experience the great driving beat in person. In all, "Exhibitionism" is an image and icon-filled tour through 50 years of The Rolling Stones, demonstrating their impact on fashion, film, recording, art and design. 

The famous tongue logo; photo by Debra Davy

 For information and tickets, go to the StonesExhibitionism website


 Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of “Rolling Stones Exhibitionism”



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