Tag Archives: virtual tour

Rock’n Roll on Museum Monday with Rick’s Picks

ELO Kiddies!

I am updating this post in order to share the news that Cheap Trick will be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame during the 2016 ceremonies.  In honor of this long awaited accomplishment, enjoy a museum experience like no other, with Rick’s Picks, my first #ThrowbackThursday.


Hall of Fame logo

On this Museum Monday, we are going to take a tour through some rock ’n roll history in Rockford, Illinois.  The Burpee Museum is currently exhibiting the guitar collection of one of the greatest musicians of all time, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, with Rick’s Picks.  This is not your average grouping of memorabilia.  From Cheap Trick’s humble beginnings of a local band to world-wide recognition, Rick saved everything from his worldwide tours, and now this nostalgia can be viewed by everyone at the Burpee.

Timeline of Rick Nielsen’s life

Nielsen, when asked what the exhibit means to him, had this to say, “It’s a lot more than just guitars. It’s my life. It’s perpetual motion, magic potions, evolutions, false conclusions, harmonic fusions, full color illusions, black and blue contusions, diffusions and delusions, late night seclusions, superstition and ambition, flights over oceans, shameless promotions, occasional demotions, sonic explosions, prepositions and compositions, traditions and transitions, collisions and decisions, expectations and exhilaration, havens and invasions, schemes, dreams and extremes, documentation and amplification, loving emotions conquering pre-conceived notions. It’s my story in guitars, music, video and all the stuff I’ve saved all these years: cracked open for all the world to see. Hope you come, hope you have fun, ‘cuz oh boy, this house’ll be rockin’.”

One of the most interesting aspects regarding the influence of Cheap Trick in Rockford is that everyone seems to have a story about the band.  Rick and his family have lived here for years, a part of the city’s nomenclature.  I have run into Mr. Nielsen several times on the Sunday morning Starbuck’s run before going to the grocery; he can be found having breakfast at the Stockholm Inn, a city staple, or dining at the Japanese restaurant JMK Nippon; driving past in traffic in his classic Thunderbird; there is even a special seat at the Coronado Theater tricked out in black and white checkerboard, a favorite design.  The influence of Rick can be seen throughout Rockford, as he continues to give back to the community.  He appears in YouTube tourism videos that parody the Wisconsin state senators who hid out in the Best Western Clock Tower Resort last year.

At Burpee, the immense exhibit had a real challenge to showcase Rick’s guitars and the accompanying memorabilia.  I cannot imagine the amount of meetings required to discuss the choices.   According to the website, Rick gave the keys to his colorful past and storage units to the curators and said, “Go for it!  Surprise me!”  Fans have declared Rick’s Picks “Better than Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Seattle’s EMP Museum.”

Rick being one of those guys that has common ground with any musician, brought along friends Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, Slash of Guns n’ Roses, Todd Rundgren and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.  Video commentary throughout the exhibit on the guitars and Rick’s influence on musicians is available on the latest iPad technology, with headphones to catch every nuance provided by Shure.

The art of this exhibit is found on the guitars.  Rick has a collection of 2000+, many of his own design, some are guitars of his celebrity friends like Brian May of Queen.  I particularly like the Batman guitar, but the showcase piece is Rick’s famous five neck, manufactured by Hamer in 1981.  This unique instrument was so popular onstage a second one was designed with the signature checkerboard pattern.  Why five necks?  Rick’s desire to play multiple guitars during songs spawned the creation.

The most creative idea in the exhibit is the drawers.  How else to showcase a collection of incredible miscellany that spans an entire career?  Early letters from Rick’s high school, lyrics to ‘Heaven Tonight’ on scraps of paper, tickets, boarding passes, hotel keys, its all there; showcased in drawers that can be opened by the viewer bringing the exhibit to a new level, with a personal invitation to dig through his drawers from Rick himself.

I would like to thank Alan Brown, executive director of the Burpee Museum, for pointing out that Cheap Trick has yet to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; this oversight is no longer the case, as the band will be a part of the 2016 Inductees ceremony, announced 12/17/15 .  And many thanks to Jay Graham of Graham and Spencer, who was giving a special insider tour when I visited the museum, providing many special insights and details.

I hope you have enjoyed this Museum Monday, I included lots of video clips and interview bits to click through on the photos.  If you have any comments on Rick’s Picks, please use the space below.  I hope you as much fun with this as I did!

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Museum Monday at the Getty

By Mary Jo Gibson

April 6, 2015

Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts

The Getty has always embraced new mediums for museum exhibitions by enhancing the museum experience on levels that will reach the widest possible audience.  Their new exposition, Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts, launched an accompanying virtual presentation and App displaying illuminated manuscripts alongside comparative art, timelines, and other influences, bringing a fresh new approach to the museum experience.

Saint John the Evangelist

Saint John the Evangelist, Lombardy, early 16th century, Master BF, cutting from an antiphonal, The J. Paul Getty Museum.

Illuminated manuscripts have suffered disbursement over the years, and the Getty retrospective reunites the numerous collections of pages that are physically scattered between disparate locations.  The majority of the objects are leaves (single pages) or cuttings (parts of pages) from choir books. This practice of re-purposing manuscripts whose contents had become outmoded was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. The practice of cutting up illuminated manuscripts led to many irreparable holes in the art historical record, with orphaned fragments making it difficult to reconstruct the full story of the artists’ collaboration on commissions.

Two Saints before God

Two Saints before God, Venice 1410-20, Cristoforo Cortese, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice.

Lives of the Twelve Caesars

Frontspiece, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Venice, 1471, Giovanni Vendramin, artist, Suetonius, author, Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana.

A physical presentation of manuscripts suffers a limitation by only allowing visitors to view only a single opening (pair of pages) from a book.  Yet illuminated manuscripts are full of rich decoration and detail throughout.  In contrast, this virtual presentation allows several pages of such manuscripts to be viewed, comparing them with other works of art by the same artist and discussing the varied icons and symbolism.  If biblical history and saint iconography intrigue you, the App shares obscure information on these images alongside commentary on their representation in worship.

The Ascension

The Ascension, Venice 1410-20, Cristoforo Cortese, Private collection, San Francisco.

However, to this viewer, it is the art of these pages that is the star of the show.  The images originated in Milan and Venice, made for Princes, prelates, and other courtiers. While these intricate pages were only available for viewing by a select few, their art is preserved.  An important feature of the online exhibition is the ability to view these pages and their characteristics in hi-res detail.  The array of vibrant color and brilliant gold gives a complete viewing experience, as impressive today as it was 600 years ago.

Calling of the Saints Peter and Andrew

Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, Private collection, San Francisco.

While exhibitions in museums give a singular experience, virtual presentations complement and extend the relevance of the artwork beyond just the physical pieces. By bringing these artworks together online from several varied sources making the result an international curatorial collaboration.  The resources within the App can be built upon, expanded, and used as educational tools on many levels, allowing the works to become an integral part of study much like any other online course.  The Getty has broken new ground with their App and the virtual exhibition that accompanies the Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts. I look forward to many more efforts from them in the virtual museum experience.

transporting the Ark of the Covenant

Transporting the Ark of the Covenant Verona, 1476-1500, Francesco dai Libri, Psalter, Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana.

Conversion of Saint Paul

The Conversion of Saint Paul, attributed to Pisanello and the Master of the Antiphonal Q of San Giorgio Maggiore, The J. Paul Getty Museum.

Thank you for viewing my Museum Monday at the Getty, I hope you enjoy the exhibition and the virtual experience as much I enjoyed sharing it with you readers!







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