Happily and unsurprisingly, there will be plenty on display to fascinate and inspire guitarists and fellow travelers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s soon-to-open exhibit, Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll. The exhibit opens April 8, 2019 and runs through October 1, 2019.
The Met, of course, is stunning at all times. With this exhibit, it will enter realms of awesomeness it has explored little, if at all. Nowhere else will you be able to see this:
Of course, it’s not as if Eddie’s guitars will be right next to a Rembrandt or Jimmy Page’s doubleneck will be casually placed in the Temple of Dendur, but, no doubt, you get the idea. Without giving much away, the Met’s exhibition overview (emphases below mine) makes clear that curators of the museum’s august halls appreciate the enduring cultural and artistic significance of rock ‘n’ roll instruments :
For the first time, a major museum exhibition will examine the instruments of rock and roll. One of the most important artistic movements of the twentieth century, rock and roll’s seismic influence was felt across culture and society. Early rock musicians were attracted to the wail of the electric guitar and the distortion of early amplifiers, a sound that became forever associated with rock music and its defining voice. Rock fans have long been fascinated with the instruments used by musicians. Many have sought out and acquired the exact models of instruments and equipment used by their idols, and spent countless hours trying to emulate their music and their look. The instruments used in rock and roll had a profound impact on this art form that forever changed music.
The exhibition is co-organized with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and will present approximately 130 instruments alongside posters and costumes. Many of rock’s most celebrated and recognized instruments will be featured, representing artists across generations and subgenres. In addition to institutional and private collectors, many musicians are lending their performance and recording instruments.
Pretty much any time in the past I’ve been to the Met, I’ve come out feeling, for the better, that I’ve been brought into contact with artworks distant from my frequent experience. Checking out Play It Loud:Instruments of Rock & Roll will be different. Probably a day doesn’t go by when I don’t hear one or more of the instruments on display, and I’m sure I’m far from alone in this. I can’t help wondering what interesting impacts this exhibit will have on those of us for whom the pieces on display are part of lived rock ‘n’ roll experience.