This weekend The Rolling Stones come alive in the Windy City via a special art display at Navy Pier.

"Exhibitionism" is a groundbreaking exhibit featuring the music, cultural influences, fashion and artistic side of the band considered by many to be the "most popular rock band in the world."

The exhibit, which opened to the public on Saturday, is scheduled to be on display through July 30 at the pier's Festival Hall.

"I had a chance to go to New York to see it when it was there (prior to its Chicago date) and I was blown away," said Michelle Boone, chief program and civic engagement officer for Navy Pier. Boone called the exhibit a great slice of "pop culture history."

Boone, a Gary native, said she had no idea what the exhibit's scope would be before seeing The Big Apple installation. She's thrilled Navy Pier was chosen for the Chicago premiere of the exhibit.

The artistic display features more than 500 items, and is considered the largest touring experience of its kind. "Exhibitionism" includes a variety of fascinating memorabilia including photos and film clips, handwritten lyric books, an interactive recording studio and a 3D concert experience.

Attendees of the exhibit will experience a real time line of The Rolling Stones' career and its members' lives. The Rolling Stones - Mick Jagger,  Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts - gave the exhibit the green light and offered access to their personal archives. "Exhibitionism" made its U.S. debut in New York before heading to The Windy City. The exhibit premiered in London in 2016.

Boone said she likes that the exhibit takes attendees through different facets of the Stones' career.

According to Boone, the exhibit is an "exploration of contemporary art in America." Attendees can see that in the context of the work Andy Warhol and other graphic artists did on the band's album covers. It also offers a look at the fashions of the times, the growth of creative graphic design and stage design as well as looking at the process of songwriting and recording music.

For Boone, the exhibit's immersive experience is "phenomenal" because it takes you back in time to your own memories of the era.

"You become the kid listening to the music in your bedroom again and looking at the album cover," she said.

During a walk through "Exhibitionism," guests will surely want to take a bit of time to explore all there is to see, hear and experience.

Allowing for an hour or more is surely necessary for this artistic immersion.

At the beginning of the tour, attendees are given a headset to listen to key information, interviews and more as they walk through the rooms.

A large red sign emblazoned with "Ladies and Gentlemen" stands at the entrance to "Exhibitionism," where a timeline is featured and leads around the corner to a big screen video display of The Rolling Stones and assorted snippets from their lives and career.

From there, guests experience everything from a recreation of The Stones' London flat in Edison Grove to a recording studio detailing the various processes of the band cutting certain records, the history behind their music, a look at their diaries, notebooks and more.

While walking through the London flat, recorded information on the headsets lets people know The Stones wanted this portion of the exhibit to really show how "decrepit" their living quarters were at the time.

And that's obvious in the display. Strewn across the flat are dirty dishes, shoes, cigarette butts, albums and other items.

Also on display are guitars, album art, stage designs plus two rooms filled with costumes and apparel worn by the band.  The final adventure at the end of "Exhibitionism," allows guests to rock out with a 3D concert experience.

Before leaving the exhibit, the adventure continues in the gift shop where fans can indulge in buying all kinds of Stones' gear.

Boone said Navy Pier will also be offering a variety of other Stones'-themed entertainment and attractions including presenting Rolling Stones' cover bands playing in the pier's beer garden and a Rolling Stones' musical soundtrack during the summertime fireworks.

The work of photographer Paul Natkin is also on display on the pier and in "Exhibitionism." Natkin photographed a number of The Rolling Stones' tours.

About his photography display featuring the Stones, Natkin said "It's an honor that Navy Pier and Jam asked me to put a show together."


Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.