The Art of Rock & Roll

Ronnie Wood recently hinted that the Rolling Stones would stage a blowout concert in London’s Hyde Park to celebrate the legendary band’s 50th anniversary in 2012. As anticipation grows over this rock milestone, we look back at the extraordinary transformation of both music and the visual arts during the past half-century. From Andy Warhol’s definitive role in the creation of the Velvet Underground and David Bowie’s forays into the art scene of West Berlin, through the age of MTV and Lady Gaga’s outrageous collaborations with Alexander McQueen, musicians and visual artists have inspired and propelled each other, fostering radical cultural shifts and revitalizing the art scene.

Explore the fascinating symbiotic relationship between rock and the art world in Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967, edited by Dominic Molon, a richly illustrated collection of essays spanning across an array of international sounds, including punk, concept rock, feminist rock, glam, and new wave. Featuring work by artists including Robert Longo, Raymond Pettibon, Mungo Thompson, and Richard Prince, Sympathy for the Devil is a groundbreaking visual history and a tribute to contemporary avant-garde culture.

There is no question that rock isn’t just about the music, but also image. Thomas Denenberg’s Backstage Pass explores the role of photography in propelling the development and popularity of rock during the age of mass-media. The incredible photos in this volume – from candid shots of Sid Vicious to glamorous portraits of The Supremes – together form a musical iconography spanning from the 1950s to the present day.

And you would never have the sounds we all know and love without Guitar Heroes, by Jayson Kerr Dobney, celebrating the craftsmanship of three luthiers, John D’Angelico, James D’Aquisto, and John Monteleone, who came from Italian-American communities in New York and brought centuries of Neapolitan instrument-making influence to the city’s archtop guitar manufacturing industry. Archtop guitars are popular amongst jazz musicians, country artists, and the big band sounds that have changed the culture of American music since the 1920s. It seems only fitting that the distinctive artistry is matched by the sound, beauty, and innovative design of these guitars.

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