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Rock 'n' Roll Photographer Mick Rock Debuts First Photo Art Show

By Della Hasselle | March 21, 2012 11:22am
Mick Rock hugs Lou Reed at his gallery opening Tuesday night.
Mick Rock hugs Lou Reed at his gallery opening Tuesday night.
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CHELSEA — Legendary photographer Mick Rock, who shot rock 'n' roll giants from David Bowie and Lou Reed to Queen and Lady Gaga, is putting on his first ever art show -- a collection of digitally altered images of music royalty.

The "Man Who Shot the Seventies," as Rock is known, is displaying enhanced versions of his old prints of famous artists, including Bob Marley and Madonna,  at a show at the CATM Chelsea gallery on 22nd Street and 10th Avenue, starting Thursday night.

"I have finally come out of the closet," Rock told DNAinfo at a private preview of the exhibit Tuesday, attended by heroes of rock like Lou Reed.

Rock, who is known for creating album covers including Queen's "Queen II" and Syd Barrett's "The Madcap Laughs," put on show psychedelic versions of famous photographs he took for albums such as Lou Reed's "Transformer," and more modern images of artists like Lady Gaga.

Although Rock's material comes from photographs he took as early as 1970, he said he produced most of the artwork for the show in the last six or seven years.

"Mine, if I have a gimmick, is that I appropriate my own images, unlike these new would-be post-Warholian artists," Rock said.

"I'm having fun with it," he added. "As long as I'm having fun, I'm going to continue to produce. And I have tons of material."

Although Rock is famous for capturing the behind-the-scenes, in-the-moment photographs of bands on tour, he says that his rainbow-colored, post-modern photo art also lends itself to rock 'n' roll scenes in New York today.

"Instead of pop art, this is really rock art," he said. "The culture embraces that — there's such colorful characters, emotions and colors of the music to bring out. Plus, we live in such a colorful world."

Without rock 'n' roll, he wouldn't have been a photographer — and therefore would never have debuted his first art show, he added.

"It was the music and the magic that inspired me," he added. "I was very lucky early on, to be in the middle of it."

Young rock 'n' roll artist Andrew Watt said that the magic looks great in the new multicolored hue.

"It's great to recreate this in a brand-new lens," Watt said.

Gallery owner John Maczalciouglu, who agrees that there's a certain "magic" to Rock's work, was also thrilled to see his new pieces.

"He's an artist that I've adored for years," Maczalciouglu added. "We met and the chemistry just kicked in. That's what rock 'n' roll is all about."