Pink Floyd exhibit in Los Angeles shows how it influenced generations of rock music

Pink Floyd exhibit in Los Angeles shows how it influenced generations of rock music

In July 1994 Pink Floyd offered their last concert in the United States; 27 years later, the history and music of the British band synonymous with progressive rock returns to this country with an immersive exhibition that opened this weekend in Los Angeles.

The exhibit Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains includes more than 350 pieces that have been part of the history of this band that began in 1967. The production was a collaboration between the members of the band and the curator Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell.

“The exhibit has various objects that make you nostalgic, but we also explain how we did the things we did,” said drummer Nick Mason during the opening at the Vogue Multicultural Museum in Los Angeles.

The exhibition, which will be open until January 9, 2022, incorporates elements from the three eras of this band: the beginnings in 1967 led by Syd Barrett, the most successful era with Roger Waters and David Gilmour as creative engines, and the last stage after Waters left the band in the early 80s.

The exhibition includes original recordings, videos, instruments and stage decorations from some of his tours. It incorporates elements of the five members of the band: Barrett, singer, guitarist and author of the songs; Waters, bassist and author of most of the lyrics; Gilmour, guitarist, vocalist and leader in the third and last stage of the band; Rick Wright, keyboardist and Mason, the only member of the band to participate in all the albums.

“There is something for everyone,” Mason said. “Some people may be more interested in the guitars and some people will be more interested in maybe the entire artwork and (others) are fans of Syd Barrett. Maybe they will be attracted to one piece, but then they will see the entire collection. “

One such instrument on display is the drum kit Mason used during the 1975 tour, which was decorated with the painting “Hokusai Wave.” This instrument is one of the symbols of the era in which this band cemented its reputation and popularity with music based on the blues American, but incorporating psychedelia and progressive rock to create concepts of criticism and reflection on humanity and modern societies.

Nick Mason poses in front of ‘The Division Bell’ album cover image at the start of “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains” exhibition at the Vogue Multicultural Museum in Los Angeles.(Jc Olivera / Getty Images)

One of the most valued elements of the exhibition is the album cover Dark Side of the Moon, considered one of the most important albums in rock music, which debuted in 1973 and lasted 736 consecutive weeks on the popularity charts.

This production is considered his greatest musical work, corresponding to the time in which the four members collaborated as a musical unit to create a concept that together with their innovative music resulted in a manifesto on the issues that overwhelm humanity.

Also included is the Azimuth apparatus, which, connected to organs and synthesizers, allowed Wright to create the band’s signature melodies across various albums, reaching levels of sublime works as in Shine On You Crazy Diamond from the 1975 album Wish You Were Here.

The exhibition also includes alternative art to the iconic image of London’s Battersea Power Station, photographed with Algie, the flying pig (inflated with helium) is the cover of the album Animals from 1977.

And of course there is the iconography of the album The Wall of 1979, created by the artist Gerald Scarfe who in his drawings illustrated the scathing and acid criticism contained in Waters’s lyrics towards fascist and postwar societies.

The exhibition also includes synthesizers and recording devices that correspond to a time before computers – and digital editing programs – where to perform echo, distortion and tone effects –soundscapes– the artists had to filter the sound through alternate speakers and cut the audio tapes with knives.

One of the inflatable figures from The Wall album is part of the exhibit "Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains".
One of the inflatable figures from The Wall album is part of the “Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains” exhibit.(Joel Ryan / Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

The image of two metallic figures (Talking Heads) that graced the album cover The Division Bell it was also included in the exhibit. That album, whose central concept is the human inability to communicate and connect with each other, was the last original recording of the band and the second after Waters’ departure in the early 1980s.

After tumultuous litigation, Gilmour, Mason, and Wright continued to produce music. They recorded two more albums, Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994) and they went on successful stadium tours in Europe and the United States.

In 2005, Pink Floyd reunited for the last time for the Live 8 benefit concert, in which they performed four songs concluding with Comfortably Numb; the tape from that concert is also included in this exhibition.

Upon separation from the band, Waters, 77, continued his career supported by his band and has toured several times.

Gilmour, 74, has said he is retired and Wright died of cancer in 2008.

Mason, 77, started his band in 2018 Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, with which he plays songs from the band’s early stage – prior to Dark Side of The Moon– with songs like Astronomy Domine, Arnold Layne and One of These Days.

Fans of this band around the world have longed for a reunion, but there have only been sporadic and separate appearances by the living members of Pink Floyd.

The covid-19 pandemic forced Waters and Mason’s tours in the United States to be postponed, so the exhibition Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains is the only direct contact with the band whose music and conceptual work has influenced several generations of musicians around the world and in all languages.

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Pink Floyd exhibit in Los Angeles shows how it influenced generations of rock music