The Stones Exhibit Rolls into Navy Pier

By Ashley Lenahan on May 10, 2017

The Rolling Stones (often referred to as simply the Stones) surfaced in the 1960s amidst the revolutionary period of music historically known as the British Invasion. Despite the more than 50 years that have passed since the band’s emergence, the Stones remain one of the most iconic names in rock ‘n’ roll music.

In honor of the illustrious group, The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism was recently established at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. The exhibition, which will be presented as one of the pier’s attractions for a mere four-month period before it relocates, is the first to provide fans with such an expansive and detailed touring experience.

It takes a chronological approach to outlining the most significant points of the Stones’ career. The exhibition features various artifacts from the Stones’ private archives and highlights the immense influence the band has had on various fields over the decades of their career. While the band is the most well-known for their contributions to music, the exhibition accentuates that the Stones also played a significant role in the transformation of design, fashion, and art.

The tour of the exhibition begins with a display of the Edith Grove flat that the band members inhabited at the time of the Stones’ initial formation. The recreation acts as an exact replica and, with its congested furnishings and aura of filth, gives an accurate depiction of the flat’s condition at the time the members of the Stones lived there. As there are no photos of the Edith Grove flat’s interior in existence, the exhibit serves to emphasize the band members’ primary focus on their music as young adults.

Photo of the Edith Grove flat via the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism

Photo of the Edith Grove flat via the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism

There’s an arrangement included for each unique field the Stones are recognized to have influenced as part of the exhibition. An exhibit of a recording studio is featured to replicate the studios of Olympic and Pathé-Marconi where many of the band’s milestone sessions were recorded. There’s also a display of each of the main guitars that the various band members have used in stage performances over the years.

The band’s role in the transformation of men’s fashion is too represented through a display abundant in the ruffled shirts and leather jackets that define their original style. The band’s impact on design is also shown through the replicas and architectural sketches of their innovative performance stages.

As the Stones, in addition, are known to have contributed greatly to the evolution of art, there are several displays included that outline their aesthetic integrity. This includes exhibits dedicated to the artwork of their numerous album covers and the stunning prints of Mick Jagger completed in collaboration with Andy Warhol. There is even an exhibit exclusively for the Stones’ iconic tongue logo.

Mick Jagger prints completed in collaboration with Andy Warhol via the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism

Display of the Rolling Stones clothing pieces via the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism

The exhibition tour ends with a viewing of a 3D film that documents one of the band’s performances from the year 2013. Upon its conclusion, audience members are then taken through a gift shop where Stones memorabilia that spans from postcards and journals to clothing and accessories can be purchased. While there is an array of appealing items to choose from in the gift shop, it should be noted that many items are constructed by European designers and, thus, have high price tags. An umbrella, for example, with the band’s unique label was priced at $250.

There are many details about the band’s personal and professional lives revealed through the exhibition. This includes records of personal interviews with each band member that provide viewers with insight into the distinctive identities behind the well-known tunes and lyrics.

It also compromises the aspects of the Stones’ music that may be unknown to many fans, such as that blues music had a strong influence on the band’s early sound. The artifacts in each individual exhibit served to benefit the overall touring experience. They provided an exceptional visual representation of the sound, image, and dynamic ideas of the Stones that have captivated audiences around the globe for more than half a century.

Hey all! I'm Ashley, an avid reader and writer, travel junkie and coffee enthusiast. As I plan to obtain credentials in Professional Writing, Creative Writing and Screen Writing, I will likely be in school for the rest of my life.

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