In fact, it was already in creation long before I showed up to the scene; several sculptors, headed by Tim Bruckner, collaborated together to create small pieces of resin-cast sculptures of John Lennon, with the intention of travelling overseas with May Pang on her newest book tour through Germany in 2014. Problems arose, however, and the promoter decided it was not prudent to ship and travel the pieces, and the sculpture segment of the tour was dead in the water.
|May Pang and John Lennon|
Had these artists been anyone else, I would have passed. However, I had worked with Tim in the past, and all the sculptors involved were professionals in the toy and entertainment industry, many of which did sculpts for things like DC Comics, Marvel Comics, or character development for movies (like Michael Defeo, for example). They fulfilled the "publication and entertainment industry" spectrum of the gallery (check!), and all of them were top notch in their field of expertise. Tim Bruckner, a master of sculpture in his own right, also had a strong backstory: he knew May Pang personally, had met John Lennon "back in the day", and had designed Ringo Starr's first solo album cover (among other things). This wasn't an average, run-of-the-mill tribute show being handed to me.
|Designs for Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson, Tim Bruckner|
I was still on the fence about the show, though. Tribute shows are hard sells to the public, quite frankly. As I wrapped up work for that particular day, I decided that if a John Lennon song came on the radio when I hopped into my car, I would do it. Knowing that was kind of a crap shot, I locked up and jumped into the car to head home.
Imagine was playing on the radio. Done deal.
|Imagine, #1/6 resin cast lamp, Tim Bruckner|
I made a tiny squee inside. You see, I actually am a John Lennon fan, I actually knew exactly who May was (I even read her book when it came out in 1983 - a bit inappropriate for a 13 year old, but hey, we all grow up sometime). I was just a wee bit star struck.
The whole group had about 6 months to prepare, and the original four sculptors of James, Alfred, Michael and Tim decided to do another piece for the show. All the artists decided to pick their favorite John Lennon song and run with that, and the results were quite marvelous.
|Tomorrow Never Knows, Michael Defeo|
|Yellow Submarine, Dan Chudzinski|
|Nothing is Real, Alfred Paredes|
|The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes, Colin and Kristine Poole|
|Two Spirits (verso), James Shoop|
|A Little Help from My Friends, Conny Valentina|
|I Am the Walrus, Tim Bruckner|
|Here's Looking at You, May Pang|
As an addition, we had a memorabilia wall during the opening, which included a set of John's sunglasses (yes, really), a very rare dye transfer print of the Sgt Peppers album cover (only four known in the world - knowing the actual value of it ranged in the six digits, I was sweating all night in fear something might happen to it), a limited edition John Lennon litho, and a lovely Chris Hopkins ink drawing of John.
|John Lennon, Chris Hopkins, courtesy Steve Roseta|
|John Lennon lithograph, courtesy Steve Roseta|
|Sgt Peppers album cover photo, one of four, courtesy Allen Goldblatt|
It's almost a shame that this show is only a month long - with it being the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles first performance and John's 75th birthday, it's like we have this super secret awesome show of fantastic art and photography devoted to one of the most charismatic songwriters of the 20th century. Those who've seen the show have been wowed and hushed and moved all at once, and to stand among the work, in the room, with "In My Life" quietly playing in the background, you feel a deep, nostalgic ache inside, and you know someone really special was taken away from us way too soon. These artists beautifully narrate the soul of his music with humor, sadness, curiosity, and most of all, respect.
"Lennon" will run through June 6th, 2015.