(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The new exhibition Bob Gruen: Rock Seen opens at the Morris Museum, featuring a selection of 72 works by one of rock & roll's best-known and most respected photographers. Active in the rock scene for over fifty years, Bob Gruen has shot some of the most memorable images of rock music's greatest artists. His photographic approach is distinguished by the ability to capture performers, both onstage and off, through candid images that convey the feeling of the moment. The show will be on view from June 21 to November 10, 2019.
From the beginning of his career Bob Gruen has been as central to the rock scene as the musicians he photographed. His body of work reflects rock music's trajectory, from the mid-1960s, documenting pioneers such as Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley, to the hard rock bands of the early 1970s, such as The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. He was also John Lennon and Yoko Ono's personal photographer and friend, taking pictures of their working life as well as private times.
As Gruen achieved greater recognition within the industry, rock & roll became a lifestyle. He began touring with groups such as Ike and Tina Turner, Kiss, and Alice Cooper. He continued with the New York Dolls, Ramones, Blondie, Sex Pistols, and The Clash, documenting the punk rock scene of the mid-1970s, the post-punk wave of the 1980s, and beyond.
As the chief photographer for Rock Scene magazine, as well as freelance for Rolling Stone, Creem, and other publications, Gruen’s behind-the-scenes photo-features detailed the backstage parties and life on tour in America and the U.K. These iconic images provided a voyeuristic look at the world of rock & roll―onstage, at home, on the road, in the studio, and at play.
Gruen's work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at institutions around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum (2009, 2018); Beit Hatfutsot Museum, Tel Aviv (2016); The Beatles Story Museum, Liverpool (2015); Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009); and Pearlstein Gallery, Philadelphia (2017). In 2007 he had a solo exhibition at FAAP Museum, Sao Paolo. This is Gruen's first one-person museum exhibition in the U.S.
New Jersey Stage interviewed Gruen in 2015. Click here for the interview.
Bob Gruen: Rock Seen features 72 works, including 50 black and white prints, 15 color prints, 5 silkscreen prints, 1 film, and 1 installation.
Exhibition highlights include:
· Tina Turner, New York City, 1970, a large multiple-exposure silver gelatin print that captured Turner’s energetic motion onstage at the Honda Monka Club in Queens, New York.
· A selection of photos from the mid-1970s documenting the emerging New York punk scene and performances by Blondie, Devo, Iggy Pop, Ramones, and others at Max's Kansas City, CBGB, and The Ritz.
· Teenage Bedroom, a room installation adapted from Gruen’s A Rock & Roll Teenager’s Bedroom Wall, conceived for the 2009 exhibition Looking at Music: Side 2, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
· NY Death Cult (1976) video, filmed at Max’s Kansas City using an early handheld portable video recorder and originally aired on New York City public access cable television. Including performances by Blondie, Jayne Country, Robert Gordon, Richard Hell, Patti Smith, and Johnny Thunders.
In addition to Gruen's photographs there will be screenings of his films in the Museum's Bickford Theatre throughout the course of the exhibition FREE with museum admission. Pre-registration is not required. The Morris Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, New Jersey.
ROCK 'N' ROLL EXPOSED: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF BOB GRUEN (2011)
Friday, June 21 1:00pm, 3:00pm - Grammy Award-winning filmmaker Don Letts explores Bob Gruen’s life and work, giving insight to the personalities behind the images and memories of wild times spent with rock & roll stars, as well as intimate recollections.
IKE AND TINA TURNER: ON THE ROAD 1971-72 (2012)
Wednesday, July 31, 1:00pm, 3:00pm - In the early 1970s, Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck toured with Ike and Tina Turner and filmed them performing—on the road and behind the scenes.
NEW YORK DOLLS: ALL DOLLED UP (2005)
Friday, August 9, 1:00pm to 3:00pm - Drawn from footage taken with a portable video recorder over a period of three years this feature-length documentary by Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck follows the band from their early performances in New York to their West Coast tour.
NEW YORK DOLLS: LOOKIN' FINE ON TELEVISION (2011)
Tuesday, August 20, 1:00pm, 3:00pm - Featuring period footage of the legendary proto-glam/punk forefathers, shot by Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck, from New York City to the TV studios, clubs, and swimming pools of Los Angeles.