The Rolling Stones have been together for an astonishing 50 years and to celebrate this milestone, a free photographic exhibition documenting the last half-century will occupy the East Wing Galleries of Somerset House, in central London. The exhibition looks back at their astounding career,which began on 12 July 1962 when the Stones went on stage for the first time at the Marquee Club in London’s Oxford Street. A phenomenal 50 years later and since then they have become one of the world’s most popular and revered rock bands, whose A Bigger Bang Tour (2005-2007) earned $558m (£360m). With privileged access to a wealth of unseen and rare material, this one-off exhibition will include over seventy prints ranging from reportage photography, live concert and studio session images, to contact sheets, negative strips and outtakes from every period of the band’s history from performing in the smallest blues clubs to the biggest stadium tours of all time.
Powered by a love of the blues and driven by the buzz of a live audience, The Rolling Stones slowly evolved into the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world and along the way helped define global popular culture. Photographs of The Rolling Stones on stage are provided courtesy of Paul Natkin and The Rolling Stones Archives, The Rolling Stones pointing courtesy of Mirrorpix, The Rolling Stones leaning on a wall courtesy of Philip Townsend, The Rolling Stones on a sofa courtesy of Steven Klein and The Rolling Stones Archives.
Somerset House Trust presents a site-wide programme of visual arts, bringing the building and public spaces alive with exhibitions, installations, performances and events. As well as developing and commissioning our own strand of artistic and cultural output, we also collaborate with world-class institutions to bring important work to London. We aim to inspire and delight with distinctive, bold and imaginative work from around the world.
As well as playing host to The Courtauld Gallery and its acclaimed collections, a major new strand of our activities is our own programme of temporary exhibitions in the Embankment Galleries which focus on contemporary fashion, architecture, photography and design. Our exhibitions have included SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution, which brought world renowned fashion photographer Nick Knight’s work to the gallery, Maison Martin Margiela ‘20’ The Exhibition, which celebrated 20 years of one of fashion’s most avant-garde designers, and Dior Illustrated: René Gruau and The Line of Beauty, an exhibition of 50 original drawings from the iconic master of illustration. From 2010 we have also hosted Pick Me Up, the UK’s first contemporary graphic arts fair.
A programme of free public displays runs alongside our major exhibitions in the Terrace and Courtyard Rooms, and further exhibitions will take place in the new East Wing Galleries which opened in Novemeber 2011.
Limited edition prints, copies of the book and other items will be available to buy. This exhibition coincides with the release of the book by the same name, published by Thames & Hudson.
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