It was an Easter to remember as hundreds of fans gathered inside Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) on Sunday, April 21, 2019, to celebrate the life and memory of the late Prince Rogers Nelson (Prince). The new exhibit, “Prince from Minneapolis,” headlines the illustrious museum through January 5, 2020.
The presentation is photo and video heavy with visceral snapshots from Prince’s time on the stage, behind the scenes (dressing room photos included – a plus for the personal Prince’s super fans), on the soundstage, and additional nearly forgotten about footage from his early days pounding pavement to get his music to the masses.
In total, there were approximately 50 artifacts on display, including 25 rare photos of Prince, 15 Prince-inspired artworks, a Prince guitar, and 2 outfits from the 1984 culture phenomenon film Purple Rain. Did we mention there’s even a point during the exhibit where fans can hop on a motorcycle replica from Purple Rain complete with white frilly shirt and snap photos? Oh, yes, you can.
From the very beginning of his career, Prince worked to create a unique and dynamic professional image. He reached out to photographers in Minneapolis to construct and disseminate what is now his legendarily theatrical image and identity. Four of those photographers—Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen, and Robert Whitman—are showcased in this intimate exhibition.
Nancy Bundt’s official Purple Rain concert shots show the artist in the zenith-like moment of that tour. Allen Beaulieu’s early pictures on stage and off provide a glimpse of the star before his best-known image was fully formed. Terry Gydesen’s pictures in the studio and on his 1993 world tour offer both unscripted moments and stunningly posed portraits.
Robert Whitman’s iconic pre-fame portraits (including the renowned shot in front of the locally famous “music wall” of Schmitt Music in downtown Minneapolis) show Prince as a young man trying on his emerging stardom. Over the course of Prince’s phenomenal career, an astounding and diverse fan base grew up around him. Many of those fans are visual artists who have been inspired by, referenced, or honored Prince in their work.
From Minneapolis to Seattle, San Diego, and New York City, and from mural painting to seed art, glass, and a custom bicycle, the art in this exhibition showcases examples of this inspiration and demonstrates the broad geographical and cultural reach of the artist known as Prince.
Tickets for “Prince from Minneapolis” are on sale now and are complimentary with paid entrance to MoPOP ($28 to $32). The physical location is 325 5th Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109 with online access here.
It’s important to note that the Prince Estate is not affiliated, associated or connected with the “Prince from Minneapolis” exhibit, nor has it endorsed, authenticated or sponsored the items on exhibit. The exhibit is organized by the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.