His­toric show rocks into Auck­land

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A pho­tog­ra­phy ex­hi­bi­tion doc­u­ment­ing the his­tory of rock and roll has left the United States for the first time – for Auck­land.

Who Shot Rock & Roll opened at Auck­land Art Gallery last month with a talk by New York-based cu­ra­tor Gail Buck­land.

The epic 173-im­age ex­hi­bi­tion orig­i­nally opened in Brook­lyn in 2009 and never left the coun­try un­til now.

Ms Buck­land, a pho­to­graphic his­to­rian, says the show took her four years of re­search to pull to­gether.

‘‘I felt that cer­tain sub­jects in the his­tory of pho­tog­ra­phy had been ig­nored and I wanted to ex­plore them,’’ she says.

The show does not run in chrono­log­i­cal or­der, how­ever it does kick off with a homage to The King.

A 1955 photo of Elvis Pres­ley with a gui­tar slung around his shoul­ders, spread legs and mouth agape, wel­comes vis­i­tors to the gallery.

‘‘It is one of the ear­li­est pho­to­graphs that started to give rock and roll its iden­tity. It was dan­ger­ous. It was elec­tri­fy­ing,’’ Ms Buck­land says.

Fol­low­ing Elvis the walls are lined with The Ra­mones, David Bowie and Madonna, through to some of to­day’s big­gest names in mu­sic.

It is an ex­hi­bi­tion set to im­press both fans of mu­sic and pho­tog­ra­phy, Ms Buck­land says.

Some of the im­ages are posed pro­fes­sional shots by big-name pho­tog­ra­phers, while oth­ers are can­did pho­tos taken by friends.

Each photo runs with a cap­tion, telling the story be­hind the im­age.

Ms Buck­land says

she tried to make it about ‘‘cre­ativ­ity not celebrity’’.

Ex­hi­bi­tion de­signer Scott Ever­son worked in­ter­con­ti­nen­tally with Ms Buck­land to tai­lor the show to the lay­out of Auck­land Art Gallery.

His job in­volved con­fig­ur­ing the light­ing, de­sign­ing the spa­ces and choos­ing the wall colours.

‘‘It’s daunt­ing when you’ve got this huge body of works to deal with, es­pe­cially when it’s sub­ject mat­ter peo­ple are passionate about.’’

The gallery hopes that the show, which drew record crowds in the States, will bring a new au­di­ence to the space.

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Im­pas­sioned: New York cu­ra­tor Gail Buck­land presents a slice of pho­to­graphic his­tory with Who Shot Rock & Roll.

Ten­der: One of the pho­tos un­earthed for the ex­hibit, Elvis Pres­ley shot by Al­fred Wertheimer.

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