Studio to Stage: Music Photography from the Fifties to the Present
A new exhibition at Pace Gallery meditates on the evolution of music photography, exploring exchanges across different genres, eras, and geographic locations as part of an homage to the last century of music and the image-makers that documented it. The presentation features photography by Richard Avedon, Janette Beckman, Adam Cohen, Jem Cohen, Kevin Cummins, Rahim Fortune, Robert Frank, Hiro, Paul Graham, Peter Hujar, Ari Marcopoulos, Itzel Alejandra Martinez, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Rankin, Ming Smith, and Nick Waplington. The exhibition is curated by Mark Beasley, curatorial director of Pace Live.
Presented chronologically on the gallery’s first floor, the photographs in Studio to Stage, which have rarely been exhibited together, depict iconic musicians of the past 70 years—including Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, John Cage, The Rolling Stones, The Smiths, Spice Girls, Beastie Boys, and more—and reflect the “radical continuum,” as termed by writer Simon Reynolds, of music. The photographs on view capture not only what it means to be a performer, but what it means to be a member of an audience.
Spanning early jazz, New York hip hop, British punk, European techno, and other musical movements, Studio to Stage examines the ways that photographers have helped cultivate mythologies around performers and their respective scenes. The legendary venues and audiences of the depicted concerts, festivals and other performances are also key in the stories told in the photographs on view. Among the highlights in the exhibition are Smith’s photographs of jazz musicians, Marcopoulos’s images of the Beastie Boys and Iggy Pop, and Graham’s photographs of Berlin clubs and raves. Studio to Stage presents the history of music as a boundless and continuous coalescing of varied sounds and geographies. Amid today’s political and social polarization, the exhibition highlights music’s potential for cultivating connections and enactments of appreciation.