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Current Exhibitions

Proud Chelsea Exhibition

Breaking Stones 1963-1965: A Band on the Brink of Superstardom. Photographs by Terry O'Neill

7th April - 19th June 2016

Proud Galleries is pleased to announce ‘Breaking Stones 1963 – 1965: A Band on the Brink of Superstardom’, an exhibition documenting the youth and dynamism of The Rolling Stones’ early formative years by esteemed photographer Terry O’Neill. This exhibition will be launching at Proud Chelsea in conjunction with the release of the highly anticipated book of the same name. In the early 1960s, the world was undergoing extraordinary social changes, where class, money and power collided and the younger working class became the new idols of art, film, literature and music. Keith Richards has said, “Nobody knew at th e time that 1963 was a pivotal year. There was a whiff in the air, and I think Terry O’Neill probably felt it as much as I did, but from different angles. Terry was behind the lens, everywhere, always.”

Both the Rolling Stones and Terry O’Neill began their careers during these momentous years, launching them into the London Rock ‘n’ Roll scene and the Swinging Sixties. Terry O’Neill’s reputation for photographing musicians such as The Beatles began to spread and soon the Stones’ manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, invited him to see them perform. Straightway O’Neill knew they were different, remembering, “I didn’t have to work too hard. They were just immediately cool.” Due to the camaraderie between photographer and subject, the young photographer was able to capture candid shots both on and off stage, resulting in spontaneous and exciting images and the start of pop pictures in newspapers.

O’Neill was one of a few talented young photographers who helped create the photographic icons of the time and the buzz that became Swinging London. In just a few short years, he would continue to capture singular moments of music history and his iconic shots of a group of young ‘working musicians’ carrying their suitcases down Tin Pan Alley would come to symbolise the spirit and the times of a generation. O’Neill said, “I didn’t realise what an impact they were having until I went to Hollywood in 1964 on an assignment. Here I was taking photos of legends like Fred Astaire and all they wanted to talk about was the Rolling Stones!” These working class boys had become impossible to ignore and O’Neill’s renowned images were the defining factor behind their success.

Breaking Stones 1963 – 1965: A Band on the Brink of Superstardom will showcase a remarkable collection of rare images captured by O’Neill. It will reveal definitive moments throughout the Stones’ early career and will document the band’s beginnings before they became one of the most successful and prolific rocks bands in history.

The book, ‘Breaking Stones 1963 – 1965: A Band on the Brink of Superstardom’, published by ACC Editions on 11 April 2016, accompanies the exhibition.


Future Exhibitions

Proud Camden Exhibition

Elliott Landy: The Band Photographs 1968-1969

9th June- 24th July 2016

Proud Camden is delighted to present The Band Photographs 1968-1969, an exclusive collection of both iconic and never-before-seen photographs documenting the making of this group’s first two albums, Music from Big Pink and The Band, through the lens of close friend and renowned photographer Elliott Landy.

Elliott Landy, the celebrated rock and roll photographer whose portraits grace the covers of both Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and Van Morrison’s Moondance, is also responsible for the cover for The Band’s second, eponymous album. In 1968, aspiring photojournalist Elliott Landy was documenting the underground music culture in New York City, when Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, offered him exclusive access to photograph The Band during the recording of their first two seminal albums. Landy’s images of The Band documented the music scene during the classic rock-and-roll period and he soon became one of the first music photographers to be recognised as an “artist.”

Once in a while a photographer gains the trust of an artist or a band, and his work fuses with that of the artist in such a way that the two become united in the public consciousness. Landy’s privileged relationship granted him unprecedented access and enabled him to capture one of the most enigmatic bands as they created a new genre of music. In 1968, “Americana” was played by six musicians in the town of Woodstock; Bob Dylan and a group called The Hawks. They had been The Hawks for five years when Dylan pulled them out of a Tony Mart’s dive bar on the Jersey Shore and asked them be his band, later changing their name to The Band. The Band were instrumental in Dylan’s progression from folk to electric, with both parties providing a significant influence on each musical styles.

More than four decades after Landy captured some of the most memorable shots in classic rock history, Proud Camden will showcase a unique relationship between artist and subject that is rarely seen in documentary photography. Exploring one of the rising bands of this decade, The Band Photographs 1968-1969 will reveal candid and iconic photographs of an unassuming group that captured the attention of a generation.


Proud Chelsea Exhibition

Pure Evil on the Kings Road

23rd June - 7th August 2016

This summer, Proud Chelsea is pleased to introduce Pure Evil on the Kings Road, an exhibition of original artworks by leading British street artist Pure Evil. This collection explores the cultural history of the infamous Kings Road, documenting icons of the swinging sixties, all of which played their part in London’s creative explosion.

Charles Uzzell-Edwards, better known as Pure Evil, takes inspiration from 60s icons with Warhol-esque portraits of Mick Jagger,Twiggy and Jane Birkin showcasing doomed and dripping portraits. These pieces feature his trademark 'tear' emblem which justifies his artistic excursions into the darker side of people and their social ills. This amalgamation of humour, art and malevolence is captured throughout this portrait of the Kings Road. From the early 1960s, Chelsea was a hubbub of creative activity and the epicenter of Swinging London. It was frequented by a large community of literary figures and artists, moving through the 70s and 80s with the
birth of the British punk movement and the opening of Vivienne Westwood's infamous ‘SEX’ shop alongside husband Malcolm McLaren.

Pure Evil fell into the group behind Banksy’s “Santas Ghetto” and started producing dark new prints and artwork, a style which has cemented the artist as a fearless image maker extraordinaire. When asked why these icons are crying, he has said “It’s an illustration of the heartbreak and sadness we have all experienced in relationships in the past.” To understand a bit about Pure Evil it is illuminating to know that he is a descendant of Sir Thomas Moore, the Lord Chancellor who wrote the controversial work Utopia and who was later beheaded by King Henry VIII. With this background it is only natural that Pure Evil should explore the darker side of the wreckage of Utopian dreams and the myth of the Apocalypse, a belief in the life-changing event that brings history with all its conflicts to an end.

In this never before seen exhibition, Proud Chelsea will celebrate the cultural importance and significance of street art, whilst revealing Pure Evil’s trademark tongue in cheek style of contemporary art which has since inspired a cult following. This exhibition will revisit the creative contemporaries who made the Kings Road legendary and commemorate Pure Evil’s unique street art sensibility that is admired and collected globally.