Paul McCartney (English, b. 1942) Paul McCartney, self portrait, London 1963-4 Photograph ©1963-4 Paul McCartney
Unprecedented Exhibition Offers Firsthand Look into The Height of Beatlemania
— More than 250 photographs from Paul McCartney’s personal archive will be on display—
The Chrysler Museum of Art will present Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm from December 5, 2023 – April 7, 2024. Traveling from the National Portrait Gallery in London to Norfolk, the Chrysler Museum of Art will be the first venue in the United States to host this major exhibition, burnishing the Chrysler’s reputation as an institution committed to the presentation of the diverse histories of photography through exhibitions and the permanent collection.
Captured by McCartney using his own Pentax Camera, the exhibition features more than 250 photographs taken between November 1963 and February 1964, illuminating the period in which The Beatles became international superstars. The photographs were rediscovered in McCartney’s personal archive in 2020. McCartney describes this collection as “the eyes of the storm,” chronologically documenting the experiences of the band on their travels beginning in November 1963 at the height of Beatlemania and culminating with photographs taken in February 1964 during the final days of the band’s first triumphant trip to America. Most of these photographs have never been made into prints, existing as negatives and contact sheets for 60 years until now. The exhibition is accompanied by a best-selling book of the same name.
“What struck me about these images, beyond their obvious historical value, was McCartney’s sensitivity to his subjects,” said Erik Neil, Macon and Joan Brock Director of the Chrysler Museum of Art. “The empathy that is at the center of his music is equally evident in his photographs.”
With these photographs, visitors can witness the dawn of the “British Invasion” that fundamentally transformed Rock and Roll music and American society. The exhibition also captures McCartney’s interest in the visual arts, with his photos reflecting the aesthetic and culture of the moment. McCartney’s style was influenced by photographers he worked with who embraced ‘snapshot’ photography, leading him to develop a uniquely down-to-earth approach that was gritty and imperfect. They depict different environments McCartney and the Beatles experienced, such as driving through streets with screaming fans, as well as personal encounters with press photographers and individuals, among others.
“Looking at these photos now, decades after they were taken, I find there’s a sort of innocence about them,” said Paul McCartney. “Everything was new to us at this point. But I like to think I wouldn’t take them any differently today. They now bring back so many stories, a flood of special memories, which is one of the many reasons I love them all, and know that they will always fire my imagination.”
Chrysler Museum members will have the opportunity to participate in a special member event to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 2024. Additional programming and details will be released this fall. The exhibition will be on view from December 5, 2023 – April 7, 2024. The Chrysler Museum of Art is free and open to the public Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, noon–5 pm.
This exhibition is supported by the Horace W. Goldsmith Special Exhibitions Endowment. Exhibition curated by Paul McCartney with Sarah Brown on behalf of MPL Communications Limited and Rosie Broadley for the National Portrait Gallery, London, and presented by the Chrysler Museum of Art.
About The Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. The Museum has growing collections in many areas and mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs each season. The Chrysler has also been recognized nationally for its unique commitment to hospitality with its innovative gallery host program.
The Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-the-art facility on the Museum’s campus. The studio offers programming for aspiring and master artists alike in a variety of processes including glassblowing, fusing, flameworking, coldworking and neon.
In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers the Moses Myers House, a historic house in downtown Norfolk, as well as the Jean Outland Chrysler Library. For more information on the Chrysler Museum of Art, visit chrysler.org.
About the National Portrait Gallery
Founded in 1856, the National Portrait Gallery tells the story of Britain through portraits, using art to bring history to life and explore living today. From global icons to unsung heroes, our Collection is filled with the stories that have shaped and continue to shape a nation. We celebrate the power of portraiture and offer encounters with some of the world’s greatest and most exciting new artists, promoting engagement with portraiture in all media to a wide- ranging public by conserving, growing, and sharing the world’s largest collection of portraits.
The Gallery in St Martin’s Place, London, reopened on June 22, 2023, following an extensive redevelopment project, which has transformed the Gallery, including a complete refurbishment of the building and a new learning center. www.npg.org.uk
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