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Henry Diltz: Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles

Henry Diltz (American, born 1938). Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles (detail), October 1985. Chromogenic print. © Henry Diltz

Henry Diltz: Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles

Henry Diltz (American, born 1938). Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles (detail), October 1985. Chromogenic print. © Henry Diltz

Barry Feinstein: Bob Dylan with Kids, Liverpool, England

Barry Feinstein (American, born 1931). Bob Dylan with Kids, Liverpool, England, 1966 (printed 2009). Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Barry Feinstein

Max Vadukul (British, born Kenya 1961). Amy Winehouse, Miami, May 18, 2007 (printed 2009). Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Max Vadukul

Cecil Beaton, celebrated portrait and fashion photographer from the 1920s through the 1970s, remembered the revolutionary feeling in photography when female models were allowed to spread their feet apart—even a little. Prior etiquette demanded that the two feet touch. Times change. Here, Max Vadukul takes the viewer right into bed with Amy Winehouse on her wedding day. That she is clothed takes nothing away from the seduction. Rolling Stone ran the picture across two pages in its June 14, 2007, issue under the heading “The Diva and Her Demons.” The photograph dramatizes the challenge of all stars of the twenty-first century: what do you reveal and what do you protect as you approach stardom?

Baron Wolman (American, born 1937). Little Richard, Fillmore West, San Francisco, October 19, 1969 (printed circa 1985). Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Baron Wolman

Albert Watson: LLCool J

Albert Watson (British, born 1942). LLCool J, 1992 (printed 2009). Inkjet print. Private collection

Andy Earl (British, born circa 1955). Bow Wow Wow, 1981 (printed 2009). Inkjet print. Courtesy of Andy Earl

In 1979, the artist Andy Earl, then twenty-four years old, represented Britain at the Venice Biennale (an international contemporary art exhibition).The year before, the impresario Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, had seen Earl’s blurred and haunting color photographs at the Photographers’ Gallery in London. When McLaren wanted something striking and shocking for the cover of a new album by Bow Wow Wow, a group he represented, he remembered Earl’s photography. Together they settled on a re-envisioning of the nineteenth-century French artist Edouard Manet’s famous painting Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass) of 1863. The male musicians, beautifully costumed by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, were delicately arranged, and the naked teenaged lead singer, Annabella Lwin, carefully positioned. To McLaren’s delight, the picture immediately became controversial: the underage rock star did not have her mother’s permission to pose naked.

Michael Putland (British, born 1947). Mick Jagger, Philadelphia, 1982 (printed 1990s). Gelatin silver print. Collection of Michael Putland

Michael Putland was the official photographer on some of the Rolling Stones’ U.S. and European tours. He had access granted no other photographer and was able to stay in the “pit” for entire concerts while the other photographers were asked to leave after the first three songs. Putland laments the lack of discrimination in the press today when it comes to celebrity portraiture. “There is no premium for quality,” he says. “I love photography, not the nonsense.”

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present

October 30, 2009–January 31, 2010

Who Shot Rock & Roll is the first major museum exhibition on rock and roll to put photographers in the foreground, acknowledging their creative and collaborative role in the history of rock music. From its earliest days, rock and roll was captured in photographs that personalized, and frequently eroticized, the musicians, creating a visual identity for the genre. The photographers were handmaidens to the rock-and-roll revolution, and their images communicate the social and cultural transformations that rock has fostered since the1950s. The exhibition is in six sections: rare and revealing images taken behind the scenes; tender snapshots of young musicians at the beginnings of their careers; exhilarating photographs of live performances that display the energy, passion, style, and sex appeal of the band on stage; powerful images of the crowds and fans that are often evocative of historic paintings; portraits revealing the soul and creativity, rather than the surface and celebrity, of the musicians; and conceptual images and album covers highlighting the collaborative efforts between the image makers and the musicians.

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present is organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland.

The exhibition is sponsored by

Generous support is provided by the Barbara and Richard Debs Exhibition Fund, the Arline and Norman M. Feinberg Exhibition Fund, and the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Exhibition Fund. Additional support provided by Matthew Marks Gallery.

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