The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Grammy Museum are presenting an exhibit entitled “Ladies and Gentlemen … The Beatles!” commemorating 50 years since the world renowned group came to New York for the first time. The Beatles became a household name and launched their stardom with their performances on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 and concerts at Carnegie Hall.
This exhibit will be available for viewing starting in February and run through May at Lincoln Center in 2014. It will display Beatles memorabilia and feature interactive exhibits. Executive director of the Grammy Museum, Bob Santelli, was quoted in the New York Times Article, “Library Exhibition to Celebrate the Beatles’ Time in New York” by Allan Kozinn as saying “We are exploring the Beatles’ arrival and the results of it.” He described it as more of a musical and cultural exhibition.
The integration of music and culture is very important. Music has always paralleled history and has been an important part of our culture. Popularity of music groups reflects the values and tastes of an entire culture. By studying music history, we are studying the history of our society and the impact the music has on it. Arguably through studying music and popular culture, we learn just as much about our history than if we read through a history textbook.
In the case of The Beatles, when they arrived in the United States from England, they sparked what is referred to as “Beatlemania.” No group has caused such frenzy or has had such a large influence on societal behavior ever before or ever since. Their visit to America also started the “British Invasion,” with groups such as the Rolling Stones and The Kinks to follow.
A crucial aspect of this particular exhibition is that it will be targeted to younger audiences. Call me biased, but I think that younger people could use a splash of culture that isn’t “current.” I think that younger people are unintentionally ignorant of the past when it comes to music. They are simply not being exposed to the artists of the past. There are too many people that don’t know the likes of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Sammy Davis Jr., who have had such a large influence on the musicians of today.
That is why these types of exhibitions need to be viewed. Music is an interactive way of looking at our history. There are college classes that teach the history of a decade through its music. This confirms the validity of music’s important cultural contributions. Seeing exhibits like these can give people a fun, educational historical perspective.
It will be very interesting for me to see in say another fifty years from now the impact of today’s music on future artists. Will the Lady Gagas and Justin Beibers of today have a similar impact as The Beatles did? Will we be seeing a Miley Cyrus exhibit in 2054? I think not, but I’d like to know what my peers think of the matter.
As an avid fan of The Beatles and someone that has had history teachers incorporate music into their lessons, I would definitely like to check out the exhibition once it opens. Macaulay students who know and love the British rock band, as well as those who still think they are insects should too.
Kozinn, Alan. “Library Exhibition to Celebrate the Beatles’ Time in New York.” New
York Times. Web. 6 November 2013