An Immersive Pink Floyd Museum Exhibition Is Coming to the U.S.: Get Tickets Online

While it’s not tech­ni­cal­ly incor­rect to call Pink Floyd a rock band, the term feels some­how unequal to the descrip­tive task at hand. One does­n’t so much lis­ten to albums like The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall as expe­ri­ence them, and this went even more so for their elab­o­rate, increas­ing­ly colos­sal live per­for­mances. A ret­ro­spec­tive of Pink Floy­d’s his­to­ry, which stretched back to 1965, must do jus­tice to Pink Floy­d’s tran­scen­dent ambi­tion: this was the goal of Pink Floyd: Their Mor­tal Remains, an exhi­bi­tion that first opened at Lon­don’s Vic­to­ria and Albert Muse­um in 2017 and is now prepar­ing to make its Unit­ed States debut at Los Ange­les’ Vogue Mul­ti­cul­tur­al Muse­um this sum­mer.

“You arrive into Their Mor­tal Remains via a life-size repli­ca of the band’s Bed­ford van, their black-and-white tour­ing vehi­cle in the mid-Six­ties,” Rolling Stone’s Emi­ly Zem­ler writes of the V&A show. “The sto­ry is told by let­ters, draw­ings, posters, video footage, news­pa­per clip­pings, music instru­ments, tick­et stubs and odd objects, some of them repli­cas.”

The items on dis­play come not just from the pro­fes­sion­al life of the band but the per­son­al lives of it mem­bers as well: “Syd Barrett’s red-orange bicy­cle,” for instance, or “the actu­al cane used on Waters dur­ing his ear­ly years” to deliv­er pun­ish­ment for mis­be­hav­ior at school.

Also on dis­play are no few notable musi­cal instru­ments, includ­ing a kit paint­ed for drum­mer Nick Mason with ukiyo‑e artist Kat­sushi­ka Hoku­sai’s The Great Wave off Kana­gawa. “Once it’s behind glass, it just looks a mil­lion dol­lars,” Mason says in one of Their Mor­tal Remains’ trail­ers, appear­ing in his capac­i­ty as a con­sul­tant to the project. It main cura­tor, graph­ic design­er Aubrey “Po” Pow­ell, co-cre­at­ed the cov­er art for The Dark Side of the Moon, and brings to bear a thor­ough knowl­edge of Pink Floy­d’s music, their his­to­ry, and their sen­si­bil­i­ty. “It’s way out of scale to any­thing that you’ve ever seen before,” he says of the exhi­bi­tion’s design, “and that sort of jour­ney is very rem­i­nis­cent of psy­che­delia, of being on psy­che­del­ic drugs.”

In its way, the alter­ation of con­scious­ness is as essen­tial to the Pink Floyd phe­nom­e­non as the incor­po­ra­tion of tech­nol­o­gy (sub­ject of a recent Mason-host­ed BBC pod­cast series) and the expan­sion of rock music’s son­ic ter­ri­to­ry. On a deep­er lev­el, there’s also what V&A direc­tor Tris­tram Hunt calls “an Eng­lish pas­toral idiom,” which will cer­tain­ly make for an intrigu­ing jux­ta­po­si­tion when Their Mor­tal Remains com­pletes its instal­la­tion in the thick of Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard. There it will run from August 3rd to Novem­ber 28th, though tick­ets are already on sale at the Vogue Mul­ti­cul­tur­al Muse­um’s web site. Though in Los Ange­les the con­scious­ness-alter­ing sub­stances that have tra­di­tion­al­ly accom­pa­nied their music are now more legal than ever, be warned that what Sal­vador Dalí said of him­self also holds true for Pink Floyd: they are drugs.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Hour-Long Col­lec­tion of Live Footage Doc­u­ments the Ear­ly Days of Pink Floyd (1967–1972)

The Dark Side of the Moon Project: Watch an 8‑Part Video Essay on Pink Floyd’s Clas­sic Album

“The Dark Side of the Moon” and Oth­er Pink Floyd Songs Glo­ri­ous­ly Per­formed by Irish & Ger­man Orches­tras

Pink Floyd Drum­mer Nick Mason Presents the His­to­ry of Music & Tech­nol­o­gy in a Nine-Part BBC Pod­cast

Bruce Spring­steen and Pink Floyd Get Their First Schol­ar­ly Jour­nals and Aca­d­e­m­ic Con­fer­ences

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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