Dressed in a black pea coat, black vest and black bowler hat. Notorious B.I.G. stands peering behind his shoulder at the countless rows of gravestones at the Cypress Hill Cemetery in Brooklyn, less than a year before he was gunned down in Los Angeles.
The haunting photo shot by Michael Lavine is one of the many on display at the upcoming exhibit “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present” which opens on June 23 at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. For the first time, “Who Shot Rock & Roll” will come to the West Coast after a run at the Brooklyn Museum in 2009. More than 100 of the most iconic photographers are featured at the exhibit, which is the first of its kind, putting a spotlight on the photographer’s creative roll on Rock & Roll.
Curated by Gail Buckland, “Who Shot Rock & Roll” will feature the works of Amy Arbus, Diane Arbus, Roberta Bayley, Danny Clinch, Ross Halfin, Jim Marshall and Storm Thorgerson to name a few. The works of these artists has proved that the aura of Rock is not just in the music, it resonates through a certain attitude, style and culture.
Some of the many photo’s at the exhibit include a rare image of Elvis Presley smooching with a woman backstage before a performance taken by Alfred Wertheimer, a young Madonna at Danceteria in 1983 taken by Maripol and Richard Kern’s image of Marilyn Manson striking a pose similar to Marilyn Monroe’s racy nude calendar photograph.
Rock stars such as Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins and album cover designer Gary Burden will make appearances at the exhibit, offering a first person account of the Rock world through their eyes.
Along with snapshots of Rock & Roll, the exhibit will show clips of music videos from bands such as U2, The Vines, Sonic Youth and Bjork. Blending music with photography, a slideshow of 80 images by Henry Diltz will be set to a rockin soundtrack.
Additionally, The Annenberg teamed up with the radio station, KCRW for a live music series to be played throughout June. KCRW helped many of today’s rock stars emerge from unknowns to household names through the radio station’s storied existence.