Its shingle in New York City’s SoHo district is endearingly retro. You walk up a flight of stairs in a pre-war building that leads to what would pass for an ample studio apartment, complete with tucked away kitchen and whitewashed brick walls. Yet within this low-key space hang some extraordinary collections of rock n’ roll photography. From Bowie to Springsteen, from Paul McCartney to Paul Simon, this fine art gallery is a more-than-fine place to drool over — and possibly purchase — stellar images of beloved music legends.
Founded in 2001 by Peter Blachley, Richard Horowitz, and renowned rock photographer Henry Diltz, The Morrison Hotel Gallery (MHG) — its name a nod to The Doors famed frontman — represents “over 125 of the world’s finest music photographers and their archives…[with a] robust online presence, featuring over 100,000 images searchable by photographer, music artist, band or concert.” The size of that statement goes a long way to explain why they opened a second venue in West Hollywood then a third at Mick Fleetwood’s General Store in Maui, Hawaii.
According to New York gallery director Marcelle Murdock, individual shows are curated with an eye on the demographics for each city. Some previous shows have included Whiskey: A Photographic Tribute, Farm Aid Artists in Photographs, and Grateful Dead Photographs – A Long Strange Trip. The current Hip Hop display in SoHo covers decades of funky fabulousness from an impressive shortlist of shutterbugs like Danny Clinch, Lynn Goldsmith, and gallery co-owner Timothy White with subjects like The Beastie Boys, L’il Kim, Biggie Smalls, and Snoop Dogg. There’s even an unsettlingly beautiful close-up of Flavor Flav’s grill.
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Upcoming shows look equally enticing. Starting Wed., Oct. 17 in L.A., From Nebraska to Tom Joad: A Bruce Springsteen Photography Exhibition and Sale will feature work by David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen. (This same show will debut in New York City a week later.) Following that will be JONI: Fine Art Photographs featuring Joni Mitchell, Her Life and Work, which opens Fri., Nov. 16 both in L.A. and NYC.
While classic rock is the primary genre at all three spaces, R&B, jazz, blues, and other genres are also well-represented. And while the “fine art” label might scare you off as a potential shopper, it’s worth noting that not every glam shot of your favorite rocker’s face necessarily costs you an arm and a leg. Additionally, the gallery’s comprehensive website provides a user-friendly path for searching photos for possible purchase. And what you get will still be a one-of-a-kind acquisition: MHG’s Los Angeles gallery owner Peter Blachley has assured us that the prints are largely “created by the photographers from the original transparencies or negatives, hand-signed and numbered.”
Check out www.MorrisonHotelGallery.com to view an extraordinary eyeful of rockin’ pleasure.