Worcester Art Museum

Worcester, MA




Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era


Dust off your tie-died shirts and love beads and experience the 1960s with Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era, on view at the Worcester Art Museum from May 6 - July 2, 2000. You'll feel like you're traveling back to one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th century after seeing photos of some of the greatest rock 'n roll stars of this defining decade and hearing their music playing throughout the gallery. This show will appeal to everyone who lived through the 1960s - and those who wish they had.

As the celebrated photographer and wife of former Beatle, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney (1941-1998) chronicled the social and cultural history of the 1960s by photographing the decade's best-known musicians. This exhibition presents approximately 50 black and white and color photos that give an intimate view of the most memorable icons of rock 'n roll at recording sessions, rehearsals, back stage, on tour, and in concert. You'll see Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Reading, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, The Doors, the Rolling Stones, The Who, the Beatles, and other rock legends whose public performances and personal moments Linda McCartney captured in a way that only an "insider" could. (left: Janis Joplin, 1967, © The Estate of Linda McCartney 1998)

Linda McCartney began her career in 1966 by photographing the Rolling Stones and other young British and West Coast rock bands as they played in New York City. When the publishing world noticed her work, she was hired as the first staff photographer for Rolling Stone magazine. Her position with the renowned magazine gave her access to the biggest names in rock 'n roll history, and her photographs of the legendary stars who were shaping history at that time launched her career. In 1967, she was assigned to photograph the Beatles. When she married Paul McCartney two years later,Linda McCartney's decision to use only available light kept her photos from looking artificial and allowed her to take shots that would have seemed intrusive if she had used flash bulbs. Her unposed portraits and spontaneous style captured the spirit of an era devoted to living for the moment. Self-admittedly a photographer by trial and error, Linda McCartney never formally studied photography. But her instinct seemed to lead her in the right direction, enabling her work to appeal to a broad audience, including music, history, and photography enthusiasts alike. Her work has been exhibited in more than 50 galleries and museums worldwide, and Women in Photography voted her "U.S. Woman Photographer of the Year" in 1987. Linda McCartney's career came to an untimely end in April 1998, when she died from breast cancer.

Born in Scarsdale, New York, Linda McCartney had a career as an internationally-known photographer that spanned 25 years. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and studied art history at the University of Arizona. Her photos of rock stars appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world and more than 200 of them are in her book from which this exhibition is drawn, Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era, published in 1992 by Bullfinch Press, a division of Little, Brown and Company.

Linda McCartney selected the photographs in this exhibition as part of a larger show that first toured in Europe from 1995-1996. In 1999, the Estate of Linda McCartney, in cooperation with the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, organized the North American exhibition that will tour until 2003. FLEXcon Company, Inc., the Hall and Kate Peterson Photography Fund, and The Worcester Phoenix generously support the exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum.

Readers may also enjoy our earlier articles about this exhibition tour:

Read more about the Worcester Art Museum in Resource Library Magazine.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

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