Pete McKee: Great Moments in Popular Music
10th September to 29th October 2011
Welcome to our latest exhibition: Great Moments in Popular Music, as seen through the eyes of incredibly talented Sheffield based artist, Pete McKee. The ”Great Moments” exhibition is an exciting one for us as it marks the start of a broader approach for the gallery to popular culture beyond photography. This show is a wry look at the events in rock ’n’ roll that shaped lives and inspired generations to form rock ‘n’ roll bands and make history. As well as retelling tales of vinyl gods and goddesses, the exhibition also takes a look at fandom – the clothes, the hairstyles – all done with the wit and reverence that are Pete McKee’s trademarks.
If you are not familiar with Pete’s style then you’re in for a treat. Emotions are often conveyed in a single brushstroke, and while many of his paintings show off his natural wit and sense of fun, he is not afraid to deal with difficult subjects; the death of Buddy Holly is the focus of one of the paintings in the show, the haunting ‘Winter Dance Party’.
For Pete, the destination isn’t as important as the journey. He explains: “What interests me more is not that the Rolling Stones are the biggest rock ’n’ roll band in the world, but that, once, they were spotty teenagers with greasy hair and a dream.” Likewise, in the painting ‘Jimi Starts a Fire' it’s not Hendrix’s flaming guitar that gets the spotlight, but the corner shop selling the lighter fuel. Of course this isn’t exactly how it happened, but that’s not the point. It’s how Pete’s imagination works that is the point here, and how he applies his trademark wit to the subjects we know and love, reminding us to expect the unexpected. That’s a theme that runs through the work on show.
Pete continues: “Coming up with a title for the show, I went through a number of puns and clever references. I settled on “Great Moments in Popular Music” as it’s very grand and to the point but it also allows me to be cheeky with my choice of subject matter. A great moment in music is a totally subjective point: Is it your first record? Is it the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl?”
This exhibition has been a complete pleasure to put together. Every few days for the past couple of months an email from Pete would arrive with another classic piece for the show completed. My excitement has been building over time as the overall shape of the exhibition has come into sharper focus with the revelation of each successive painting.
The exhibition takes up all three floors of the gallery. Visitors will see 28 original paintings on the ground floor and downstairs, while upstairs we feature a selection of 11 original pencil drawings and handpulled screenprints.
If you've never owned a unique, original piece of art, a McKee is a great place to start. Here's a summary, from soup to nuts:
Pete McKee’s original paintings start at £1,500 and go up to £8,950. Sizes range from 16x16 inches to 32x42 inches framed size. They are set in a simple and elegant wooden frame, designed to hang flush on the wall. You can check out what they look like framed right here.
The exhibition features 11 original pencil drawings, all priced at £495. They are framed to an identical size, 15x15 inches, and each one is signed and titled by Pete McKee. They are the perfect size for nooks and crannies, and work really well in pairs, trios etc - well, you get the idea.They are beautiful little vignettes - subjects include Mick and Keith locked in the kitchen, The Velvet Underground, Debbie Harry, Paul Weller and many more. You can see all of them here ( scroll down to see them - they are after the paintings)
Now here’s a nice twist - if you see a pencil drawing you love, and would like Pete to turn it into a painting, he will.
Pete McKee has selected three images from the current Great Moments in Popular Music exhibition to offer as limited edition screenprints: The Beatles Get a Haircut, The Weekenders and Pub Rocked . The Weekenders and Pub Rocked are £350, and The Beatles is £395. All three screenprints are now available to order, either online or through the gallery.
Paul Smith tote bag
Fashion designer Paul Smith has joined forces with Pete McKee to create a one off limited edition tote bag for the show. It features the boy in the guitar shop from Pete McKee's painting 'School Boy Crush'. Only 100 bags have been produced, and are £25. We will have them at the gallery from 10 September 2011. Buy one and we'll throw in a copy of our beautiful 32 page McKee exhibition catalogue. You can order one online here
Availability and pricing
The original paintings and pencil drawings in the show are of course unique pieces. We expect demand to be high. If you do fall in love with a piece, then be bold and seize the moment. If you don’t someone else surely will. All original paintings and pencil drawings will be delivered in the week after the end of the exhibition. Limited edition screenprints and tote bags are good to go. Prices for the screenprints and tote bag are online. For latest prices for the paintings, just get in touch.
The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday for viewing the work on the walls. For online viewing, you can look at actual photographs of all the framed paintings and framed pencil sketches by clicking on "interior photos" in the "More..." box up on the right of this page, just under the image at the top. You can get size information on the paintings and screenprints by clicking on "The Collection" in the same "More..." box. You can read a beautiful fullscreen version of the exhibition catalogue just below.
Confused about something?
If you have any questions at all, just get in touch.
Hope you enjoy it.
Guy White, Director.