Instruments of Rock & Roll at the Met
Instruments of Rock & Roll at the Met

The first major exhibition in an art museum dedicated entirely to the iconic instruments of rock and roll goes on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. From April 8 to October 1, 2019.

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Through more than 130 instruments dating from 1939 to 2017—played by artists such as Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Don Felder, Kim Gordon, Jimi Hendrix, James Hetfield, Wanda Jackson, Joan Jett, Lady Gaga, Steve Miller, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Kate Pierson, Elvis Presley, Prince, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, St. Vincent, Tina Weymouth, Nancy Wilson, and others—“Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” explores one of the most influential artistic movements of the 20th century and the objects that made the music possible.

Organized thematically, “Play It Loud” explores how musicians embraced and advanced emerging technologies; the phenomenon of the “Guitar Gods;” the crafting of a visual identity through the use of instruments; and the destruction of instruments in some live performances, one of rock’s most defining gestures. The exhibition includes many of rock’s most celebrated instruments, including such guitars as Jimi Hendrix’s electric guitar “Love Drops,” originally decorated by him; Eric Clapton’s “Blackie,” Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein,” Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf,” and Joan Jett’s “Melody Maker,” and drums from Keith Moon’s “Pictures of Lily” drum set. By displaying several rigs used in live performances and sound recordings, the exhibition also demonstrates how artists created their own individual sounds, and some 40 vintage posters, costumes, and performance videos illustrates key components of the musical movement’s visual style and impact.

The exhibition will travel to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November 2019. This is the second collaboration between The Met and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after Rock Style, which was presented at The Met in 1999.

Gibson Guitar Corp. (Kalamazoo, MI); painted by Keith Richards. Les Paul Custom electric guitar (serial no. 7 7277), 1957; painted 1968. Carved mahogany body and neck, ebony fingerboard, 24 3/4 in. scale; black finish with hand-painted design; three patent-applied-for (PAF) humbucking pickups, three-way selector switch, two volume and two tone controls. Collection of Keith Richards.