By Jim Johnson

The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood — were all on hand in Manhattan last night for the official North American opening of Exhibitionism — the band’s first ever multimedia career retrospective, which is up and running in the West Village at Industria Superstudio. In the announcement for Exhibitionism, Mick Jagger explained: “We’ve been thinking about this for quite a long time but we wanted it to be just right and on a large scale. It’s not going to be like walking into a museum. It’s going to be an event, an experience. It’s about a sense of the Rolling Stones — it’s something we want people to go away talking about it.” The exhibit runs through March 12th.

Jagger explained that every era of the Stones is chronicled in an exhaustive — but still entertaining — manner: “It’s interesting because you go from a long time ago into, almost, the present day. It is not an exhibition about the ’60s only. It’s a long thing. So, you say, ‘Okay, more or less, I saw him in that outfit, y’know, when I lost saw the concert.’ So, I think it’s good, it’s pretty bang up to date.”

  • Jagger went on to explain how Exhibitionism, with its multi-faceted design and layout, breaks new ground: “You’re seeing all the obvious things, y’know, you’re seeing a lot of guitars that you’d expect from a rock band — but you’re also seeing the art, you’re seeing the staging. There’s some really incredible staging — if you’re interested in that kind of thing. And you think, ‘Well, who’s interested in that?’ But, actually, they’re really fascinated in those stage things. And when I look at all those, I think, ‘Oh, I’m really proud of being involved in this staging.’ And I’m still working on staging. And y’know, I mean, like, how are you gonna stage the Desert (Trip) show?”
  • One of the most brilliant parts of the exhibit is the recreation of Jagger, Richards, and co-founder Brian Jones squalid apartment in London’s Edith Grove, complete with filthy bedroom and kitchen. The exhibit underscores the horrible living conditions with a putrid smell that can only be described as spoiled milk, garbage, and filthy clothes pushed through from the overhead vents.
  • Keith Richards admitted to us he was taken aback at how well the production team got the vibe of Edith Grove: “Man, uncannily accurate. I mean. . . I’m lookin’ at it and I’m going — a weird feeling, like ‘I’m home’ (laughs).”
  • We asked Keith Richards what he thinks late-Rolling Stones founders, Brian Jones and Ian Stewart, would make of the new exhibit: “He’d probably be very proud of it — I’m sure. Y’know, because he was part of the band that started this thing off, y’know? And I’m sure that he’d be very proud and happy to be here. Stu’s the other one. The main man. Y’know, Stu would probably be in the corner there, laughing his head off.”
  • Ron Wood told us that seeing how the Stones made the various recording studios around the world their home away from home was particularly thrilling for him:“It was good to see the studio recreated, like, where we recorded Some Girls, it was in Pathe Marconi in Paris. But also the studio could be Olympic in London, where I used to record with the Faces and the Stones would be next door cutting ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want,’ or something, and we’d all be going in “Oh, yeah, what ‘they doing?’ Y’know, like, oh, ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ — that sounds like a good song. I wanna be in that band.”
  • The press release announcing Exhibitionism stated: “as well as over 500 of the Rolling Stones’ important and unseen artifacts from the band’s personal archives, the exhibition will take the public through the band’s fascinating 50 year history, embracing all aspects of art & design, film, video, fashion, performance, and rare sound archives.”
  • Mick Jagger reportedly got the idea for the Stones’ exhibit after being wowed during a visit to ABBA‘s official museum in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Among the one-of-a-kind items found in the exhibit are the cassette player on which Keith Richards famously demoed “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” just before passing out in a Florida motel room; Mick Jagger’s lyric book featuring the handwritten lyrics for such mid-period classics as “Miss You,” “Hey Negrita” and “Worried About You”; Richards’ 1963 diary; and the toy drum kit that Charlie Watts used during the recording of “Street Fighting Man.”

CHECK IT OUT: The Rolling Stones talk Exhibitionism:


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