The Rolling Stones are iconic. There is no other way around it. Their sound, their image, their legacy are all firmly cemented in rock and roll history.
So how do you create an exhibit that gives this band its due while also not overwhelming its audience with too much information? The ROLLING STONES EXHIBITIONISM does exactly this by capturing the bits and pieces of the band’s history that has created the sensation they still are today.
Navy Pier’s Walkable Tribute
With over 55 years of performing under their belt, The Rolling Stones are the quintessential rock n’ roll band from their over the top performances down to their humble beginnings in London. The ROLLING STONES EXHIBITIONISM takes us on this journey through their unique style and gives us a sense of everything that makes them an icon.
Throughout the exhibit we find ourselves amazed at how many things have been saved over the years. Over a period of 55 years, the collections preserve memories - photos, videos, digital, you name it. It’s not like the creators of this exhibit had to go on archaeological digs to find these items. But what they do have astounds us.
We walk through the “Recording” section of the exhibit to see a recreation of what their recording studio would look like. Videos from their recording sessions play in the background while visitors can don headphones and listen to stories from their music producer. Vinyl records, early instruments, and even a signed contract surround us in this room. With videos of interviews with Blues legends playing on the walls, we feel where it all started—the beginnings of The Rolling Stones.
Theatricality At Its Best
As we move through the exhibit we are given a behind-the-scenes looks at all the elements that created the band’s image. There’s an entire room dedicated to showcasing some of their famous instruments—guitars from Keith Richard’s personal collection, harmonicas used by Mick Jagger, and even lyric books where we can see notes from their famous songs!
We are taken through the work of the various artists the band collaborated with on their album covers. We see models of some of their biggest tour stages like the moving bridge over the crowd during the Bridges to Babylon Tour. And, the room full of costumes worn during their performances is not to be missed!
The Rolling Stones did not let one element slip through the cracks when designing their band image. They set the bar high for rock n’ rollers that came after them with their living-on-the-edge lifestyle. This exhibit has the perfect combination of visual and interactive elements to let us engage with the band and understand its influence. We’re free to wander the space as we please to soak in all of these materials. Leave yourself about an hour and half to wander through at a leisurely pace and enjoy it all.
Check out the video below for a sneak preview of the exhibit!
Fame Will Live On
The Rolling Stones seem to have always known they were going to be big - or at least that’s what the ROLLING STONES EXHIBITIONISM suggests. One story from their early days stood out. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards recognized their mutual love of the Blues. They wanted to bring the Blues to Britain. It was a long shot. Then, at an early performance when they had a line out the door waiting for them, they knew they had hit something big. Perhaps this is why they crafted so much of their image so carefully and why there is so much documentation of their road to fame.
THE ROLLING STONES EXHIBTIONISM is the history of the Rolling Stones without being a full- blown history lesson. We get a sense of where they came from and how they became famous. More, we are presented with all the elements that went into creating the iconic band we know today.
The exhibit is good for long time fans as you’ll be surrounded by mementos that any fanatic would love. And for those of us who might not live and breathe the Stones, this exhibit will teach you a thing or two about this band that lived and breathed sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.
Now through July 30th
Monday & Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesdays' before 31 May: CLOSED
Wednesdays' after 31 May: 4:00pm - 8:00pm (venue closes at 9:30pm)
Thursday: 12:00pm - 7:30pm (venue closes at 9:00pm)
Thursday May 18: 12pm - 4.30pm (venue closes at 6:00pm)
Friday & Saturday: 11:00am - 8:30pm (venue closes at 10:00pm)
Sunday: 11:00am - 5:30pm (venue closes at 7:00pm)
600 E Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611