the Backroom



Howard Bingham 1939-2016

by Chris Murray on December 20, 2016  |  1 Comment »

Howard Bingham and Muhammad Ali. © Neil Leifer. Howard Bingham and Muhammad Ali. © Neil Leifer.

I heard the news that Howard Bingham passed away last week. Howard was Muhammad Ali’s best friend, since he was Cassius Clay, and he was a friend to me as well. It was because of Howard Bingham that I came to be able to call Muhammad Ali a friend of mine.

People sometimes ask me what was the greatest day ever at Govinda Gallery. There have been so many extraordinary ones but it was the day Muhammad Ali came to Govinda with his friend Howard Bingham that was my favorite day at Govinda Gallery.

© Govinda Gallery Archive. © Govinda Gallery Archive.

When I first met Howard Bingham, I asked him if he would help me celebrate Govinda Gallery’s 20th anniversary with an exhibition of his photographs of Muhammad Ali. He did, and here is a full-page ad for that exhibition in the Washington Review of the Arts. I had Muhammad and Howard sign that full-page for me. When I first showed the ad to Howard Bingham, he was with Ali and he jokingly pointed out to Ali how his name was the big name and Ali’s was smaller. He told Ali with a sly smile and Muhammad pretended he was angry! It was really funny and a great moment between two great friends. I miss them both, but their mutual legacy goes on forever. For me Howard’s passing and Ali’s passing this year mark the end of the Ali era.

Howard Bingham getting ready to sign his book of photos of Ali at his Govinda Gallery exhibition while Ali charms the Govinda Girls with some magic. © Govinda Gallery Archive Howard Bingham getting ready to sign his book of photos of Ali at his Govinda Gallery exhibition while Ali charms the Govinda Girls with some magic. © Govinda Gallery Archive.

Category: Blog   

Sunshine Superman Donovan and Jimmy Page at the Albert Hall

by Chris Murray on December 14, 2016  |  1 Comment »

The much anticipated DVD of the Albert Hall concert recreating the entire Sunshine Superman album has just been released by Donovan Discs. Jimmy Page was a surprise guest, having played guitar on the original recording 50 years ago of both mega-hits, Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow. What a great gentleman Jimmy Page is.

Beautiful photo of two great friends and two great artists; Jimmy Page and Donovan. At the Gore Hotel after-party, 2011.  © Virgilio Fino. Beautiful photo of two great friends and two great artists; Jimmy Page and Donovan. At the Gore Hotel after-party, 2011. © Virgilio Fino.

Albert Hall live concert Sunshine Superman DVD autographed by Donovan. Albert Hall live concert Sunshine Superman DVD autographed by Donovan.

Check this clip out from the concert of Donovan and Jimmy performing Sunshine Superman.

Donovan talking with the great bass player Danny Thompson with Chris Murray looking on, 2011. ©  Virgilio Fino. Donovan talking with the great bass player Danny Thompson with Chris Murray looking on backstage at intermission at the Albert Hall, 2011. © Virgilio Fino.

Check out more photos and other material from the concert.

Category: Blog   

Shoot First – Harry Benson

by Chris Murray on December 14, 2016  |  1 Comment »

The night before last I saw the documentary film, Shoot First, about the life and times of the great photographer Harry Benson. I laughed and I cried as I watched our times flash before me in the film, beautifully narrated by a group of individuals including journalist Carl Bernstein, sports photographer & filmmaker Neil Leifer and Vanity Fair Creative Director David Friend, among others.

chris_shoot-firstjpg Chris Murray with Shoot First poster at Landmark Cinema in Washington. © Carlotta Hester.

Harry is a charming and engaging person who as a photojournalist has documented stories that have affected all of our lives, one way or another. You can’t see this film without leaving the theatre with indelible memories.

Bill and Hillary Clinton. © Harry Benson. Bill and Hillary Clinton at the Governor’s Mansion, Little Rock, AR, 1992. © Harry Benson.

What a pleasure for me to have exhibited Harry’s brilliant photographs over the years at Govinda Gallery, as well as in museum exhibitions I curated, most notably Sound & Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography.

Donald Trump holding one million dollars. © Harry Benson. Donald Trump holding one million dollars at the Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, NJ, 1990. © Harry Benson.

Harry Benson’s photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

Category: Blog   

Rare David Bowie Stage Suit at Sotheby’s

by Chris Murray on December 5, 2016  |  1 Comment »

Artist Carlotta Hester got a chance to try on David Bowie’s gold leather jacket that he wore on the Glass Spider Tour in 1987. That jacket, along with gold leather pants and belt, as well as a gold shirt, comprise the very rare signed stage suit being offered December 10th in Sotheby’s New York Rock & Roll auction.

©  Chris Murray. © Chris Murray.

Mick Rock took some remarkable photos of David Bowie in various suits. This photo of Mick Rock’s was featured in the Sound and Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography museum tour. Mick Rock’s photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

David Bowie, London, 1973. ©  Mick Rock. David Bowie, London, 1973. © Mick Rock.

Category: Blog   

Fidel Castro 1926-2016

by Chris Murray on November 29, 2016  |  1 Comment »

Fidel Castro, New York, 1959. ©  Osvaldo Salas. Fidel Castro, New York, 1959. © Osvaldo Salas.

Absolut Revolution, 2002. ©  Liudmila and Nelson. Absolut Revolution, 2002. © Liudmila and Nelson.

It has been an honor to have exhibited the photographs of Osvaldo and Roberto Salas, Liudmila and Nelson, Korda and Figueroa and other Cuban photographers at Govinda Gallery.

Category: Blog   

Junior Marvin’s Wailers Bob Marley Tribute

by Chris Murray on November 16, 2016  |  1 Comment »

Bob Marley, Soul Rebel, Hope Road, 1976. ©  David Burnett. Bob Marley, Soul Rebel, Hope Road, 1976. © David Burnett.

Tomorrow night, Saturday, November 19th, Junior Marvin will be performing his Bob Marley Tribute at Hamilton Live in Washington, DC. Junior’s tribute is the best there is honoring Bob Marley and his musical legacy. Junior performed and recorded with Marley and was by his side from Exodus to the great reggae musical artist’s death. If you like Bob Marley’s reggae music, you will not want to miss this show.

This lovely portrait of Marley at his home in Kingston is by David Burnett. Burnett’s photographs are available at Govinda Gallery.

Category: Blog   

Leon Russell 1942-2016

by Chris Murray on November 16, 2016  |  4 Comments »

Leon Russell, 1970. © Barrie Wentzell. Leon Russell, 1970. © Barrie Wentzell.

Leon Russell truly was an extraordinarily soulful musical artist. A brilliant keyboard player, songwriter, arranger, performer and more. He was a dear friend of George Harrison, an outstanding hippie, and he wrote one of the greatest love songs of our time, A Song for You. I love Leon Russell and this photo of him by Barrie Wentzell.

Category: Blog   

Herman Leonard’s Brilliant Jazz Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery

by Chris Murray on November 7, 2016  |  3 Comments »

I just went to see Herman Leonard’s exhibition of jazz photographs at the National Portrait Gallery. It was a stunning exhibition and the panels of text accompanying each photograph are illuminating. Among the images in the exhibition were portraits of Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, Sarah Vaughan, Chet Baker, Quincy Jones, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan and others.

Billie Holiday. © Herman Leonard. Billie Holiday, New York 1949. © Herman Leonard.

Justin Weber wrote a terrific review of Leonard’s exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery that sums up how good the exhibition is. It was published in Washington City Paper, and here is a link to that review.

It was Govinda Gallery’s great honor to host Herman Leonard’s first exhibition twenty years ago in September of 1996. Herman came from his home in New Orleans to attend the opening reception. It was a packed house and after the opening I hosted a party with Carol Taylor Gray in Herman’s honor at her home in Georgetown. It was a lively evening that ended with a fierce arm wrestling contest between the ladies. Carlotta Hester defeated Carol Taylor Gray in the final match and Herman Leonard loved it!

Carol Taylor Gray. Carol Taylor Gray at Govinda Gallery in front of Andy Warhol’s silkscreen After the Party. © Chris Murray/Govinda Gallery Archive.

Leonard’s exhibition at Govinda was also a launch for Herman Leonard: Jazz Memories (Filipacchi, 1996), Leonard’s award-winning book of jazz photographs. Herman inscribed his book to me at the exhibition opening.

Inscribed copy of Jazz Memories. Inscribed copy of Jazz Memories. © Govinda Gallery Archive.

Charlie Parker, New York 1949. Charlie Parker, New York 1949. © Herman Leonard.

Sarah Vaughan, New York 1949. Sarah Vaughan, New York 1949. © Herman Leonard.

Herman Leonard’s photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

Category: Blog   

Tom Hayden R.I.P…’SHOTS’

by Chris Murray on October 25, 2016  |  4 Comments »

Chicago 7 members hold a press conference immediately after being charged with contempt during their conspiracy trial. Tom Hayden is on the far right. Chicago, IL, April 8, 1969. © David Fenton. Chicago 7 members hold a press conference immediately after being charged with contempt during their conspiracy trial. Tom Hayden is on the far right. Chicago, IL, April 8, 1969. © David Fenton.

I heard the news Tuesday about activist, civil rights worker, author and California State Senator Tom Hayden passing on. It was an honor for me to collaborate with Lely Constantinople in editing and producing the book SHOTS, featuring David Fenton’s photographs of political demonstrations and activists. (Earth Aware Editions, 2005) Tom Hayden contributed the foreword to that book, for which I wrote the afterword.

Shots: An American Photographer's Journal 1967-1972. (Earth Aware Editions,
Shots: An American Photographer’s Journal 1967-1972. (Earth Aware Editions, 2005)

Tom Hayden wrote in SHOTS of David Fenton’s images, “These shots are genuine, reflecting the eye of a young man attempting to process the chaos of worlds falling apart and being born. They save the authentic from both co-optation and disappearance.”

David Fenton’s photographs and the book SHOTS are available through Govinda Gallery.

Category: Blog   

Mick Rock…’Long Live Rock’!

by Chris Murray on October 25, 2016  |  Comments Off on Mick Rock…’Long Live Rock’!

Lou Reed, London, 1972. © Mick Rock. Lou Reed, London, 1972. © Mick Rock.

I was delighted to see Mick Rock’s brilliant photo of Lou Reed on the cover of the November issue of Mojo magazine. That photo of Lou was used for the cover of his groundbreaking album, Transformer. It was also one of the featured large-format photographs in the traveling museum exhibition, Sound and Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography.

Lou Reed with gallery director Chris Murray enjoying Mick Rock’s contact sheet images of Reed. © Govinda Gallery Archive. Lou Reed with gallery director Chris Murray enjoying Mick Rock’s contact sheet images of Reed. © Govinda Gallery Archive.

It was a great buzz for us at Govinda when Lou Reed dropped by one day in April of 1999 to see Mick’s exhibition, Mick Rock: A Photographic Record, at Govinda Gallery. Lou enjoyed all of Mick’s photographs that day, and very graciously signed Mick’s contact sheet print of Lou before he left the gallery. That is now a very rare print.

Mojo Magazine, November 2016. Mojo Magazine, November 2016.

Mick Rock is busier than ever with his latest book from Taschen, exhibitions of his photographs, and now the release of two documentary films about Mick and his work. Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock is a feature documentary film about Mick’s five-decade career helping define the visual image of contemporary music. Long Live Rock is a documentary short featuring Mick with fashion designer John Varvatos visiting some of the locations where Mick shot a number of his most famous photographs of Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Lou Reed, among others.

One of the wonderful aspects of being the Director of Govinda Gallery is that I became close friends with many of the artists we represent at Govinda. Mick Rock is one of those great friends. It was very exciting to host Mick’s first two exhibitions at Govinda and to feature his work in several museum exhibitions, with more coming up. Govinda Gallery was also the U.S. distributor for Mick’s first three books, published by Genesis Publications in England.

Mick Rock’s photographs and books are available through Govinda Gallery.

Category: Blog   
© 2008 Govinda Gallery.  Proudly powered by WordPress.  Website Design by Cary Scott Additional design by Anna Jacoby.