February 2009 was the most attended and most successful February in the Portland Museum of Art
s history, thanks to the popularity of the exhibition Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography. The 17,839 visitors for the month broke the record that was set by the Ansel Adams exhibition in 2000. During the February First Friday Art Walk, 3,270 visitors came to the Museum from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., making it the second most attended Friday night ever. Backstage Pass is on view through March 22; the exhibition stands to be the most popular winter exhibition in the Museums history.
We knew that Backstage Pass would be a popular exhibition, but the show has exceeded all of our expectations, said Chief Curator Tom Denenberg. It reached out in new ways, expanded our audience, and we keep hearing how important it has been to our visitors. With 20 days still left to go, we hope to break the record for the month of March.
Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography is drawn from the largest private collection of photographs of rock musicians in the country and captures the intimate relationship between photographer and musician. Featuring 268 photographs-many rarely seen by the public-the exhibition includes studio portraits and candid outtakes of famous rock & roll stars from Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix to Madonna and Courtney Love. Classic images by photographers Lee Friedlander, Kate Simon, Laura Levine, Baron Wolman, Bob Gruen, Jim Marshall, and Lynn Goldsmith are included in this extraordinary survey of 20th-Century music and popular culture. The exhibition, which opened on January 22, will be on view through March 22.