Guitar Heroes at the Met
Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City
February 9 – July 4th, 2011
I was able to take a break from my work in New York to get to the Met on the last day of the Guitar Heroes exhibit. While there were many great instruments on display, I was really interested to see the D’Angelico New Yorkers. If you are unfamiliar with these instruments, they are the high-water-mark for jazz guitar making. Made in New York City by John D’Angelico, these instruments are noted for their craftsmanship in the building, the unique aspects of the art deco style, they also sound fantastic and were instrumental in creating a great jazz guitar luthier legacy in New York. John D’Angelico taught James D’Aquisto who carried on the tradition from D’Angelico’s workshop.
Also on display were a number of Monteleone guitars. The most interesting was a “teardrop” shaped archtop that was commissioned by Pete Girardi when he was with his band The Teardrops. The original teardrop shaped guitar was commissioned from John D’Angelico, subsequently, similar teardrop shaped archtops were commissioned from D’Aquisto and Monteleone as well. All of these guitars were on display at the exhibition.
While I was expecting to see great guitars (and I did), I was not prepared for the feeling of getting to the Met only to feel like I was in an upscale guitar store. The hippest thing I encountered in terms of the museum experience was the iPhone app that led me through the exhibit with historical information from the curator of the exhibit, rare footage of the luthiers themselves, and great musicians from Bucky Pizzarelli to George Benson performing with the instruments in the show.
Check out the Met’s “Guitar Heroes” blog to see objects in the exhibition, interviews, performances, and more. http://blog.metmuseum.org/guitarheroes/
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