Selections from Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present

March 7 - May 30, 2010

About the Exhibition
Related Events

About the Exhibition

Rock & Roll became the American rite of passage in the twentieth century. Each generation since World War II has created various concoctions of African-derived blues and European folk ballads, mixed with American jazz. The visual expression of this music and its history are represented in Selections from Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present. Rock & Roll intentionally speaks a language that adults cannot understand, capturing the anxiety of youth, its pent-up fury, and awakening sexuality. The photographs reflect these feelings and ideas, with all their contradictions, excitement and energy. In Rock & Roll, many Americans have their first genuine experience of art. When melody, rhythm, and lyrics speak directly to the listener, a young life can be changed. The exhibition includes the work of photographers who used their cameras to explore and interpret the music, striving to share its creative energy. These images are different from those executed for marketing and publicity, examples of which are also exhibited, presenting another paradox of twentieth century culture. Who Shot Rock & Roll includes the work of over 100 photographers. The visual expression of the music and its history feature candid, posed and live-performance shots, publicity portraits, and album cover art of rock stars like Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Madonna and Amy Winehouse. Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present is organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland.

About the Catalog

In conjunction with the exhibition, a striking hardcover companion book by Gail Buckland presents over 100 photographers and their photographs that captured the spirit and energy of the rock and roll music scene over the last 50 years. It explores the effect of the photographers' pictures on the musicians, the fans and the culture itself. The more than 200 photographs range from Elvis in 1956 photographed by Alfred Wertheimer to Bob Dylan and his girlfriend on a snowy Greenwich Village street by Don Hunstein to John Lennon in a sleeveless New York City T-shirt by Bob Gruen, and a more current photo of Eminem by David LaChapelle. Catalog available in The Museum Shop. $40 Hardcover.

Related Events

Christopher Whitehead, Jamie Buckmaster, Michael Leslie, Jarred Berthiaune, AJ Muir and Matt Carroll

Opening Night BASH! - Two Great Parties!

Who Shot Rock & Roll Exclusive VIP Party
Saturday, March 6, 6-7:30pm - $200 per person
Be the first to see Who Shot Rock & Roll. Enjoy an open bar (6-7:30pm) and plentiful hors d'oeuvres as The Museum Café is transformed into a rock club by artists before your eyes (literally). Mingle with special guests:

  • Michael Lang, co-creator and producer of the legendary Woodstock concerts
  • Gail Buckland, guest curator of Who Shot Rock & Roll from the Brooklyn Museum and author of the exhibition companion catalog Who Shot Rock & Roll
  • The band for the evening: Christine Ohlman, vocalist for Saturday Night Live; Cliff Goodwin, Joe Cocker's lead guitarist and Worcester native; Marty Richards, drummer for the J. Geils Band and drummer for Joe Perry of Aerosmith in the Joe Perry Project; Mitch Chakour, pianist for Joe Cocker; Deric Dyer, saxophonist for Tina Turner and Joe Cocker; and Wolf Ginandes, legendary Boston-based bass player. The band will perform for all in The Museum Café at 7:30pm.

Who Shot Rock & Roll VIP Party & Opening Bash
Saturday, March 6, 7:30-11pm, $30 Members/$40 nonmembers.
Get ready to rock at WAM. Visit the exhibition Who Shot Rock & Roll, enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar, and listen to our live band for the night in The Museum Café. See VIP Party for information on the band. Also featuring DJ Mark Lynch in the Renaissance Court. The Museum will be rockin' all night!

Who Shot Rock & Roll Opening Night Bash generously sponsored by Fallon Community Health Plan, Imperial Distributors, Inc., and Unum.


Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Curator's Perspective
Sunday, March 7, 11am
Gail Buckland , photography historian and guest curator of Who Shot Rock & Roll from the Brooklyn Museum, will join us for this exclusive curators perspective on the exhibition. This talk will be followed by a book signing of her companion catalog to the exhibition. Free with Museum admission.

Worcester in the 60's
Sunday, March 14, 2pm
Co-founder of the Worcester night club “The Comic Strip” in the 1960's, Ed Medaus lived and breathed live music in Worcester. The club was packed every week with hundreds of High School students out to dance and meet people, and almost every weekend the biggest recording artists of the day played there, including Neil Diamond, The Animals, The Young Rascals, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck, Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, and The Barbarians. Hear Mr. Medaus' take on the exhibition, and how Worcester was, and is, a vibrant place for live music. Free with Museum admission.

A Rock & Roll Family Day
Sunday, March 21, 1-4:30pm
Discover the Museum with your family in this fun Family Day! Explore the exhibition Who Shot Rock & Roll, and see many other works in the WAM collection that were inspired by music. Take part in this adventure for all ages through art-making activities, games, performances from Chuck & Mud, the Worcester Children's Chorus, tours with teens from South High, and much more! Free with Museum admission. 17 and under always free. Family Day is sponsored by Unum. For a schedule of events download flyer.

Concert: Jacqui Naylor
Our apologies, this event has been canceled.
Saturday, March 27, 8pm
$30 per person
Held at Tuckerman Hall, Worcester, MA
Something a little different! Jacqui Naylor is a jazz musician who has been inspired by rock music all her life. Jacqui's newest CD is called “You Don't Know Jacq” and is her 7th CD release. She is a jazz- pop stylist who surprises with a unique fusion of genres she calls “acoustic smashing”. Her band will perform a familiar jazz instrumental and fuse a rock melody/ lyric against it. The results are fresh and exciting and lead her to be an artist to watch. This event is presented with WICN Public Radio. Generous support provided by Fallon Community Health Plan and Imperial Distributors, Inc.

Wormtown Rocks! Exhibition
April 6 - May 14
Public Reception: April 8, 6-8pm
Higgins Education Wing
Worcester has always been known for its lively music scene and its ability to nurture artists of all genres. This photo competition and exhibition is a dynamic and unique snapshot of the music scene of the area, highlighting both photographic as well as musical talents. Winners of this juried competition will be presented with cash awards on Thursday, April 8th, at the opening reception. A local exhibition not to be missed! In collaboration with ARTSWorcester. Intent-to-Submit Forms Due March 17.

April Tour of the Month: Who Shot Rock & Roll
Wednesday April 14, 2pm
Saturday April 17, 2 pm
Join docent mark Lynch in his countdown of the top 20 hits of the exhibition Selections from Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present. Free with Museum admission.

Artist Talk: Bob Gruen
Sunday, April 25, 2pm
The Museum Café
Bob Gruen is one of the most well-known and respected photographers in Rock & Roll. By the mid '70s he was already regarded as one of the foremost documenters of the scene working with major attractions such as John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elton John and Kiss as well as covering the emerging New Wave and Punk bands including The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and Blondie. Free with Museum admission.

Gallery Talk: The History of Rock and Roll
Sunday, May 9, 2pm
Dr. Steve Waksman, Associate Professor of Music and American Studies, Smith College and author of two noteworthy books Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience, and This Ain't the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk will present a lively interpretation of the photos on view. Free with Museum admission.

May Tour of the Month: Music in Art
Wednesday May 12, 2pm
Saturday May 15, 2pm
The Worcester Art Museum houses objects from many cultures and eras. Museum Docent Jane Maguire leads this thematic tour showing breathtaking works which were inspired by music. Free with Museum admission.

Related Classes

Class: How to Shoot Rock Among Other Things
Mondays, February 8- March 29, 8 sessions, 6:30-9:30pm
Members $180 /nonmembers $200
Learn how to take better photographs of group events with photographer Christopher Whitehead. Emphasis will be on tracking moving subjects, lighting and flash issues, and obtaining correct color. These skills can be used at weddings, graduations, concerts or other indoor events. Learn more by calling 508.793.4333 or 508.793.4334, or register online. Register early as classes fill quickly!

Class: But Can You Dance to it?
Friday, March 5-26, 4 sessions, 6- 8pm
Members $65/nonmembers $85
Join provocateur Mark Lynch for a noisy, wild tour of the world where visual art and alternative rock music intersect. Find out “How much art can you take?” (from the band SS Decontrol) as we look at bands that move away from artsy pretensions and other groups that embrace a visual, performance art vision. Bands like The Residents can be viewed as performance artists, while performance artists like Diamanda Galas or Laurie Anderson have been treated like rock performers. Is there a difference between rock and art? Music videos, wildly creative posters and covers, visual artists as film directors-we'll look at them all as well as Who Shot Rock and Roll. Learn more by calling 508.793.4333 or 508.793.4334, or register online. Register early as classes fill quickly!

Workshop: Painting to the Oldies--Music Inspiring Art
Sunday, March 21, 1pm to 4pm
Members $35/nonmembers $55
Listen and groove to the Oldies/Classic rock and tap into your inner creative artist with painter Angela Ackerman. Discover how great music can inspire great art. Explore expressive movement, vibrant color and passion in landscapes, still lifes and portrait acrylic paintings. Includes materials. Learn more by calling 508.793.4333 or 508.793.4334, or register online. Register early as classes fill quickly!

Would you like to have your own Rock & Roll Bash at WAM?
Parties include access to the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibition, Rock & Roll themed food, drink and décor and even a rock DJ if you wish! Call Janice Potter today for our exclusive package options at 508.799.4406 x3077 or e-mail janicepotter@