Exhibitionism, the Rolling Stones exhibition opening in London on 5 April, will attract record numbers of visitors for a rock art show. It’s set to be a smash hit – the most popular exhibition of rock art ever staged.
Here are 10 reasons why the Rolling Stones exhibition will be so successful.
#1 The Rolling Stones – the most popular musicians of all
The Rolling Stones are the most popular musicians on Planet Earth. By a mile. They appeal to people almost everywhere. Aged 8 to 80. Male and female. Early school-leavers to PhD boffins, long-term unemployed to CEOs.
#2 Fanbase – enormous, fanatical following
If you’ve ever attended a Rolling Stones arena concert, you’ll have witnessed just how fanatical are their fans. The Stones have been filling arenas and stadiums around the world with these hardcore fans for decades.
Rolling Stones fans buy just about anything bearing the Stones name (and the lips logo). Even those fans who’ve never stepped inside a museum or gallery before (and there are many) will be tempted by the Rolling Stones exhibition, if only to hoover up any merchandise.
The hardcore fans travel. And they spend big.
#3 Mick Jagger – one of the most famous
Mick Jagger is one of the most famous people in the world today. More famous than virtually anybody in music, the arts, entertainment, sport, business, politics and any other sector you might mention. If you don’t recognise a photo of Mick Jagger, you’re probably living in a place untouched by Western culture.
#4 Mick Jagger – most photographed/painted
And Mick Jagger is probably the most photographed man ever. He’s attracted leading photographers for the last half century: David Bailey… Gered Mankowitz… Annie Leibovitz… Cecil Beaton… Anton Corbijn… Terry O’Neill… to name just a few.
And Jagger has been immortalised in major series of artworks by two leading contemporary artists, Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton.
#5 The Rolling Stones’ superlative marketing
The Rolling Stone exhibition, Exhibitionism, will be supported by a superlative marketing machine – the best you’ll ever encounter. Whenever the Rolling Stones have a new project/product to promote, you’ll find yourself reading about them, thinking about them, whistling their tunes… and buying their product. All because of the Stones’ world-class marketing machine.
They’ve been testing the London market for a Rolling Stones exhibition for some time. Witness the pop-up shop and sponsorship of Carnaby St a few Christmases ago. And Rolling Stones 50, the wonderful small photo exhibition at Somerset House. These events may well have been dummy runs. The Rolling Stones exhibition may well be the roll-out.
And they’ll have been encouraged by the success of David Bailey’s Stardust exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, and David Bowie Is at the V&A.
Media – old and new – is a sucker for Rolling Stones stories. Expect to be reading about the Rolling Stones exhibition in the saturation media coverage throughout summer 2016.
#6 Saatchi Gallery – ideal venue for a Rolling Stones exhibition
The Saatchi Gallery is the ideal venue for a Rolling Stones exhibition. It’s accessible, high profile, hip… and enormous. It has made contemporary art fashionable in England – a tough call. People who wouldn’t normally go within a mile of an art gallery will flock to the Saatchi Gallery.
#7 London – ideal location for a Rolling Stones exhibition
London is the ideal location for a Rolling Stones exhibition. It’s the birthplace and spiritual home of the Rolling Stones. If you wanted to run a major Bob Dylan show, you’d choose New York; for an Edith Piaf show, you’d obviously choose Paris, and for a Mozart exhibition, Vienna. A major Rolling Stones exhibition has to start in London.
Remember – London is the most visited city in the Western world. Paris, Berlin, New York and LA aren’t even close. Exhibitionism will benefit from a heavy footfall.
And London is the world capital of rock art. Public museums, private galleries and pop-ups exhibiting rock art abound. The National Portrait Gallery… Somerset House… Tate Modern… Snap!… Proud galleries… Castle Fine Art… and an array of temporary exhibitions/spaces mean that there’s always some rock art worth seeing, whenever you’re in London.
#8 The sweet summertime – ideal season for a Rolling Stones exhibition
The Rolling Stones exhibition, Exhibitionism, is very well-timed, filling the whole of London’s sweet summertime of 2016, April to September.
#9 Timing – Rolling Stones exhibition catches the Rock Art wave
Rock art – album covers, posters, photos and paintings – is becoming more popular every year. As well as visiting smaller Rolling Stones shows, I’ve recently seen loads of popular exhibitions featuring David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Jam, Punk Rock, Bruce Springsteen, Blondie… the list goes on and on… .
The new Rolling Stones exhibition, Exhibitionism, is timed perfectly to catch this wave.
#10 Organisers expect big crowds
The organisers of the Rolling Stones exhibition have clearly planned for big crowds. You’ll need to book a timed entry slot to get in – even though the Saatchi Gallery is an enormous space, capable of accommodating vast numbers of visitors. And booking for the Rolling Stones exhibition began nine months ago.
If the business brains who have been monetising the Stones’ global appeal for so many years think Exhibitionism will be so very popular, I’m tempted to trust their judgment.
But will the Rolling Stones exhibition be any good? Will it tour?
Exhibitionism, the Rolling Stones exhibition, will be the most important rock art show ever. But will it be any good?
To find out, please bookmark ROCK ART EDITIONS and pop in occasionally: I’ll be visiting Exhibitionism very soon, and reporting what I find.
But if you can’t make the Rolling Stones exhibition in London this summer, don’t despair. If it’s as successful as I expect, it’s likely to tour. Remember, the Rolling Stones are a truly global brand, so expect this gig to go on the road… to NYC, LA, Berlin, Tokyo… ?
Copyright: text, Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2016; illustrations as in captions. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.