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Published: 2009/11/02
by Amy Jacques

Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present

Chris Stein and Debbie Harry – photo by Eric Weiss

On Thursday, the Brooklyn Museum celebrated the opening of Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present with an exclusive exhibition preview and reception for members and specials guests—highlighted with a performance by iconic new wave band Blondie.

The performance, which clocked in at just under 40 minutes, featured fan favorites such as “Call Me,” “Heart of Glass” and “One Way Or Another” as well as a few new songs and a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till Ya Get Enough.” Prior to Blondie’s show, photographer Josh Cheuse, whose work appears in the exhibition, performed a DJ set while guests enjoyed New York-centric refreshments such as soft pretzels, hot dogs and Brooklyn Lager. Guest Curator Gail Buckland was also on hand to sign copies of the accompanying like-named book.

Organized into six sections that touch on different themes of performance such as “Starting Out,” “Fans and the Crowd” and “Behind the Scenes,” the exhibition features more than 175 images by 105 storied photographers including Bob Gruen, David LaChapelle, Diane Arbus, Annie Leibovitz, Baron Wolman, Barry Feinstein and Danny Clinch. Rare and never-before-exhibited photos are on display such as Ed Caraeff’s full sequence of Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, Roberta Bayley’s 1976 photo used on the cover of the first Ramones album, Richard Avedon’s four classic 1967 Beatles portraits and Andreas Gursky’s mammoth nine-by-seven-foot photo of Madonna performing in 2001.

The exhibition is also complemented by videos of photographers speaking about their works, a soundtrack written by Blondie’s Chris Stein and other multi-media components.

Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present opened to the public Friday and is on view at the Brooklyn Museum through January 31, 2010.

Blondie recently completed the summer leg of the “Call Me Invincible” tour with Pat Benatar. The band is also scheduled to perform in Nova Scotia on October 30 and 31 and in Indiana on November 20.

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