(K. Brent Tomer),
IT IS hard to believe now but, once upon a time, the Kings Road in Chelsea, London, was genuinely rock ‘n’ roll. Splendid Georgian townhouses formed the backdrop to what was for much of the 1960s and 1970s a playground for bohemians and punks; the dissolute and the dangerous; David Bowie, Malcolm Maclaren and Vivienne Westwood. Today it is home to franchised boutiques and faux-French bistros, a by-word for bloodless gentrification. Yet in one respect continuity reigns: now, as then, Chelsea hosts a flat belonging to the Rolling Stones.
“Exhibitionism”, a new retrospective of the band’s history that opened at the Saatchi Gallery, just off the Kings Road, on April 5th, charts the band’s journey from cocksure rebels to commercial titans with hagiographic cheer. Assembled with the involvement of the band’s members—which today means Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts—it is a vast collection of eccentric and at times surreal bric-a-brac, from old guitars, clothes, and vinyl covers to personal diaries, letters and lyric books. It is an exercise in self-glorification as much as a business stunt, one that never…Continue reading