Symbolic London Brings Rolling Stones-Inspired Exhibition to Broome Street Gallery, Opening Today

Symbolic London Brings Rolling Stones-Inspired Exhibition to Broome Street Gallery, Opening Today

Symbolic London, one of the world's greatest collections of twentieth-century pop culture, presents a collection of fine art works inspired by The Rolling Stones and the artists that have supported them in a worldwide exhibit entitled 50 Years of Rocking the Art World- A Celebration of The Rolling Stones which opens to the public today, 7 December 2012 and runs through Monday, 4 February 2013 at 498 Broome Street at West Broadway in New York City. Gallery hours are from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday. Private appointments also available.

Symbolic has presented the exhibition in part to recognize The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary as the "Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World". The exhibition includes paintings, drawings and limited-edition prints available for sale, many of which have never been seen before by the public.

Throughout the band’s vivid history, they have consistently showed support of the arts by directly commissioning artists to create their logos, album covers, and related content for their tours. The show will highlight artists, who have used The Rolling Stones brand logos and their iconic individual appearance to create their own works of art. The celebratory exhibition will feature works by Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood, including new never before seen mixed media pieces, as well as drawings and lyrics created while on tour with the band.

In 1971, “The Tongue,” one of the most iconic and recognizable logos ever created for a band, was released by artist John Pasche. Pasche’s original vision of the logo was first featured on the Sticky Fingers album cover, and will be on display, in conjunction with one of five modern versions created in 2007. Described as the most visually dynamic and innovative logo ever created, Pasche late sold the image rights to the Stones.

According to Pasche: “Face to face with him (Mick Jagger), the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and his mouth. The design concept for the tongue was to represent the band’s anti-authoritarian attitude, Mick’s mouth and the obvious sexual connotations. I designed it in such a way that it was easily reproduced and in a style I thought could stand the test of time.”

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London now owns the original design and one of the 5 recently created works.

The celebratory exhibition will feature works by Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood, including new never before seen mixed media pieces, as well as drawings and lyrics created while on tour with the band.

Other noteworthy artists participating in the exhibition including Hubert Kretzschmar and Peter Corriston, the original designers of the Some Girls album cover, which became one of the band’s best-selling albums in the U.S. and remains a staple of their live shows. It was one of their most controversial album artworks, as it showed surprisingly unsightly representations of female celebrity.

Another key Rolling Stones inspired artist, celebrated during the exhibition, is Sebastian Kruger. Known for his detailed life-like portraits, in particular of Keith Richards, Kruger has been praised for "capturing the essence of his subjects" with his pieces, which are sure to draw you in.

Adding to the show’s enticing subject matter, Andy Warhol’s famous limited edition print of Mick Jagger, signed by both Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger, will be featured for viewers to admire. In addition to the Mick Jagger screenprint Andy Warhol collaborated with the Stones on several projects including the Love you Live album cover and Sticky Fingers.

Like the cinematic efforts of Robert Frank and the Meisel brothers, these artworks exist within a continuum of collisions and collaborations, which reflects what the Stones are all about; what they stood for then, with their youthful brashness, and what they stand for now, in all their seasoned legacy. The exhibition will feature events highlighting each of the artists and their works, as well as appearances by notable Rolling Stones supporters of the last 50 years.


The original artwork for The Rolling Stones logo was created by John Pasche (British, b. 1945) in 1971 and remained the property of the artist until it was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2008. Due to the fact that Pasche sold the copyright to the Stones in 1984, no other production rights of the logo were given to the artist. In 2009, Pasche reached an agreement with them permitting him to produce just five original and unique artworks based on the original design. A copy of the agreement between The Rolling Stones and the artist is available on request and serves as a provenance of the pieces.

David Byrd
Los Angeles-based artist David Byrd (American, b. 1941) has had a prolific career in graphic design and illustration. Upon graduation from Carnegie-Mellon University where he earned both his Bachelors and Masters degree in Painting and Printmaking, Byrd moved to New York City in 1967 where he helped establish Fantasy-Ultd., a multi-media collective. The group segued Byrd's involvement with Bill Graham's Fillmore East theatre in Manhattan's East Village where Byrd took on the role of exclusive poster and program designer. The position marks the beginning of the artist's reputable career of designing show posters for rock icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and of course, the Rolling Stones to name a few. Over the next twenty years, Byrd would create many campaigns for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows and receive nation-wide renown for his modernist appropriation of Art Nouveau used within his conceptions. With a heavy-weight career under his belt, Byrd worked as the Senior illustrator for Warner Bros. Creative Services until 2002 when he decided to return to freelance work and continue his tradition of ingenious designs today.

Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons (American, b. 1955), known as a cultivator of pop-art ingenuity, is well-versed in working with celebrity imagery and pairing them often with seemingly banal objects. For the Rolling Stones 'Forty Licks' tour in 2002, he had designed the band's tour logo which served as the stadium show backdrop. With the mural, Koons had made implicit the very essence of the band; sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. Plastered behind the Rolling Stones while they had performed on stage is Koon's collage of an inflatable dog, a trash can, a pair of red-lacquered lips and a hot pink thong stretched from each side of the piece. While the artist did not have the intention in replacing John Pasche's iconic 'Tongue and Lips' logo, Koons regards his design as "a new type of lips that can be associated with this tour."

Russell Young (British, b. 1950) began his career early on as a photographer, receiving training from Chester Art College and Exeter Art College. However, it was his time assisting the photographer Christos Raftopoulos that Young was inspired to develop a personal aesthetic and helped push him to pursue personal projects. Young heeded Raftopoulos' direction and began shooting live club shows of R.E.M., Bauhaus and the Smiths. His photographs garnered a great deal of positive attention and he quickly picked up work for magazines and record companies, eventually shooting portraits of Morrissey, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross and many more music legends. By 2000, haven established himself within the commercial world, Young began to feel confined within the limits of photography and resolved to pursue a more creative career as a painter and an artist. He continues his practice today, working between Brooklyn and throughout the California coast.