The new Rolling Stones exhibit, “Exhibitionism,” makes the case for its name: It boasts more than 18,000 square feet of space on Navy Pier. On April 15, the organizers of the exhibition invited the public to view the world’s largest single collection of paraphernalia belonging to The Rolling Stones. The collection contains more than 500 individual pieces from the archives of the English band.
The exhibit features countless articles of interest, including original records, tour costumes designed by Alexander McQueen and Prada, album artwork by Andy Warhol and instruments that were used to record some of the band’s most iconic songs, including “Paint It Black” and “Satisfaction.”
“Exhibitionism” is also engrossingly informative and teaches visitors about the band’s origins, including its iconic tongue and mouth logo, which was inspired by the Hindu goddess Kali, and its rise to fame that began in 1962.
Within the exhibit there is also a film narrated by Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese that chronicles the Stones’ performances over the course of their 55-year career.
The Stones’ extensive collection was magnificent, but the most intriguing part was the guitar collection. After walking through half of the exhibit, the custom-made guitars hanging from the walls are jaw-dropping.
The collection includes Mick Jagger’s 1963 Gibson Hummingbird, on which he wrote one of the world’s best known rock songs: “Sympathy for the Devil.” Attached to this piece of the exhibit is an area where you can pick a Rolling Stone hit and rearrange the bass, treble, vocals and instruments of each member to create your own personal spin on the song.
“Exhibitionism” is a lively, engaging experience that’s exciting for new and lifelong fans alike. The exhibit transports visitors through time as they watch the band evolve from a Beatles-esque imitation of traditional values of the 1960s to a groundbreaking, unconventional explosion of music and culture of the 1970s and 1980s.
Through the mind-blowing displays of original artwork and music, “Exhibitionism” encourages the denial of conformity and celebrates individuality and self-expression through doing what you love. It’s an inspiring collection that, perhaps inadvertently, encourages visitors to accept the unaccepted and sympathize with the devils in ourselves.
Exhibitionism is on display at Navy Pier through July 30. Ticket prices range from $20-$80, depending on age and package purchased.