learn. who shot rock and roll.

Calling all Birmingham procrastinators, you may now consider it crunch time as Birmingham Museum of Art’s special exhibit “Who Shot Rock and Roll” closes in three days. Thanks to Birmingham Mountain Radio and the Museum, I won free passes and attended a free lecture by Bob Gruen (more on him later), but even the affordable ticket price of $10 is a steal for a leisurely look at iconic images and a greater understanding of the relationship between the individuals in front of and behind the camera.

Don’t expect a chronological walk through the history of rock music. You’ll gather that along the way as you see a tuxedo-clad Jimi Hendrix, a conflicted Kurt Cobain, an animalistic Mick Jagger, and the draw of Madonna. But this exhibit is really a study of intersecting people and their art forms. You are invited into that relationship setting by setting.

So here are a few To Do tips for planning your visit… asap.

  • Spend an hour or more. I walked through in about an hour and forty-five minutes, but I could easily have spent two as I tend to be a slow mover at museums.
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone (and silence it). Several pieces have audio clips that accompany them. To hear the photographer discuss the image adds another layer, but you must call a phone number to hear the clip.
  • Take notes. Whether pen and paper or an app for that, take note some way of your favorite images, your reactions, quotes to remember, and artists to research.
  • A note for families. Proceed at your own risk and ahead of any children. As you may expect, be prepared for the occasional graphic image and some nudity.

Again, for you who have to wait for the absolute last possible moment, the museum is hosting a special event this week, staying open until 10pm on Saturday night. A Last Night/Late Night and a Sunday Encore this weekend. No more excuses.

I’ll leave you with this thought-provoking quote included in the exhibit:

 “A portrait is not a likeness…
The moment an emotion or fact is transformed
into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion.”
Richard Avedon


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