rolling stone celebrates 50 years with monumental pentagram-designed exhibition

rolling stone celebrates 50 years with monumental pentagram-designed exhibition

pentagram designs an exhibition for rolling stone magazine, one of the world’s leading pop culture publications, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. the extensive 3-floor exhibition is on view at I.M. pei’s rock and roll hall of fame in cleveland, OH. the designers, along with rolling stone co-founder jann wenner, created a clear progression through the space — inspired by the layout of the original magazine.

rolling stone pentagram
the exhibition is on view at the rock and roll hall of fame in cleveland, ohio designed by I.M. pei in 1995



pentagram’s exhibition begins with a freestanding pavilion in the museum’s fourth floor atrium. decorated with the magazine’s iconic logo, the small pavilion contains a reconstruction of rolling stone’s first office in san francisco — emphasizing the publications humble beginnings and future growth to success. the installation includes wenner’s original desk and mail sorter. portions of the the magazine’s first issue and wenner’s first letter from the editor introduce the visitors to what is to come, while also supplying them with a necessary foundation of information and historical context.

rolling stone pentagram
the pavilion contains a reconstructed version of rolling stone’s first san francisco office



‘because the trade papers have become so inaccurate and irrelevant, and because fan magazines are an anachronism, fashioned in the mold of myth and nonsense,’ wenner wrote to his readers in the first issue. ‘we hope that we have something here for the artists and the industry and every person. rolling stone is not just about the music, but also about the things and attitudes that the music embraces.’

rolling stone pentagram
articles, images, and featured artworks convey the magazine’s history in great depth



gradually, the magazine unfolds in front of the visitor’s eyes — the publications’s sections are displayed one by one: short cuts, letters from the editor, reviews, and interviews. it is at this moment when the visitor is ushered up into the space’s narrow red, spiral staircase, adding an air of mystery to the experience.

rolling stone pentagram
eye-catching images of international musicians, politicians, and artists line the exhibition walls



entering the thirty-foot open space at the pinnacle of I.M. pei’s pyramid, the walls are covered in enlarged images of rolling stone’s most iconic covers — depicting the magazine’s expansive history and diversity in subject matter. at the same time, video interviews with rock and pop icons from throughout the ages play on projectors above, adding an audio feature to the immersive and breathtaking experience.

rolling stone pentagram
a mix of images, audio recordings, and videos add unique elements to the exhibition

rolling stone pentagram
the publications’s sections are displayed: short cuts, letters from the editor, reviews, and interviews

rolling stone pentagram
the visitor is ushered up into the space’s narrow red, spiral stair

rolling stone pentagram
video interviews with rock and pop icons throughout the ages play on projectors above

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