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Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits

Exhibition of Rock 'n' Roll Royalty Opens June 24

NORFOLK, VA (June 8, 2016) — Meet the kings and queens of rock and roll in an exhibition featuring the photography of Herb Ritts at the Chrysler Museum of Art this summer. Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits will be on view June 24 to Sept. 18, 2016 at the Chrysler, where admission is always free.

Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits features iconic portraits of the biggest names in the past 30 years of music, including instantly recognizable images of David Bowie, Prince, Madonna, Cher, Janet Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. The exhibition also includes a peek behind the artist's process in a display of contact sheets with red pencil markings showing how he chose the shots that would become famous.

"Herb Ritts often took the picture that now comes to mind when you think of your favorite rock star," said Acting Curator of Photography Seth Feman, who co-curated the show with Deputy Director Susan Leidy.

The exhibition is complemented by a selection of rock and roll memorabilia on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where the exhibition originated in 2015. Items include Rod Stewart's tiger-striped jumpsuit, Elton John's top hat and Bruce Springsteen's leather jacket. Guests can also snap selfies in a Selfie Station against a beachy background inspired by Madonna's "Cherish" music video and share on social media with the hashtag #RittsRocks.

Over the course of his career, Ritts captured intimate portraits of fashion and entertainment industry stars. He was one of the first still photographers to transition to directing commercials and music videos, creating such memorable pieces as Chris Isaak's seductive "Wicked Game" and Janet Jackson's "Love Will Never Do Without You."

"Ritts had the ability to make his subjects look at once like mythical gods and like your best friends," Leidy says. "He gives you personal access to rock legends."

In addition to producing portraits and editorial fashion photographs for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview and Rolling Stone, Ritts created advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Donna Karan, Gap, Giorgio Armani, Levi's and Polo Ralph Lauren, among others. His fine art photography has been the subject of exhibitions worldwide.

Ritts, who was HIV positive, died of pneumonia at the age of 50 in 2002. The exhibition is presented by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in collaboration with the Herb Ritts Foundation, which advances the art of photography and supports HIV/AIDS causes.


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. In the years since Chrysler's death in 1988, the Museum has dramatically enhanced its collection and extended its ties with the Norfolk community. The Museum, expanded in 2014 to add additional gallery spaces and amenities for visitors, now has growing collections in many areas. The Chrysler also mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs and events each season.

In 2011, the Chrysler opened a full-service glass Studio adjacent to the Museum. In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers two historic houses in downtown Norfolk: the Moses Myers House and the Willoughby-Baylor House.

The Chrysler Museum of Art, One Memorial Place, Norfolk, and its Perry Glass Studio, at 745 Duke St., are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. The Historic Houses on East Freemason Street are open weekends. General admission is free at all venues.


Contact Amber Kennedy
(757) 340-7425

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