Bob Gruen is one of the most well-known and respected photographers in rock and roll. From John Lennon to Johnny Rotten; Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones; Elvis to Madonna; Bob Dylan to Bob Marley; Tina Turner to Debbie Harry, he has captured the music scene for over forty years in photographs that have gained worldwide recognition.
Shortly after John Lennon moved to New York in 1971, Bob became John and Yoko’s personal photographer and friend, making photos of their working life as well as private moments. In 1974 he created the iconic images of John Lennon wearing a New York City t-shirt and standing in front of the Statue of Liberty making the peace sign – two of the most popular of Lennon’s images.
As chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine in the ’70s, Bob specialized in candid, behind the scenes photo features. He toured extensively with the emerging punk and new wave bands including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Patti Smith Group and Blondie. Bob has also worked with major rock acts such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Kiss and Alice Cooper.
In 1989, he documented the epic trip to Russia of the “Moscow Music Peace Festival” featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe and Bon Jovi. For many years Bob was the official photographer for the New Music Seminar held in New York City, covering dozens of aspiring new bands in the course of a summer week. This seminal body of work reflects a profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists. His wealth of personal experiences and uncanny memory provide the most illuminating and comprehensive histories of rock youth culture.
“All Dolled Up,” a DVD documentary made by Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck of their early ’70s video footage of the New York Dolls, was released in 2005 with a follow-up DVD, “Lookin’ Fine On Television” released in 2011.
In the spring of 2007 FAAP University in Sao Paulo, Brazil, presented an exhibition of Bob Gruen’s work. Titled ROCKERS, the exhibition attracted 40,000 visitors. The ROCKERS exhibition was also shown from April to July 2008 at Morrison Hotel Gallery on the Bowery in New York City.
Bob’s “Sid Vicious with Hot Dog” photo was acquired by The National Portrait Gallery, London, in 1999 for their permanent collection.
The Experience Music Project, Seattle, acquired his “Clash Live in Boston”, “Tina Turner Multiple Image”, and “Bloody Sid Vicious” photos for their permanent collection in March 2012.
In 2011 award winning director Don Letts made a feature length film titled ‘Rock & Roll Exposed – the Photography of Bob Gruen’ including interviews with Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Alice Cooper, Yoko Ono, Billie Joe Armstrong and many more.
Bob was presented in June 2004 with MOJO Magazine’s prestigious Honours List Award for Classic Image in London and in November 2010 he was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. For his many charitable contributions, Bob received the first ever John Lennon Real Love Award in December 2014 at the 32nd Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert.
More recently he has also photographed Green Day’s tour of Europe, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, Iggy Pop, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Jesse Malin, Ryan Adams, Courtney Love, The Strypes and other new popular acts.
PHOTO EXHIBITS include:
Sotheby’s S/2 Gallery, London – 2015
The Beatles Story Museum, Liverpool, England – 2015
Liss Gallery, Toronto, Canada – 2008, 2011 & 2015
Kaapelitehdas / Pannuhalli, Helsinki, Finland – 2015
Huntingdon Gallery, London – 2014
Pop Gallery, NYC – 2014
Fort Napoleon, Belgium – 2013
Recoleta Cultural Center, Argentina – 2013
Oca, Sao Paulo, Brazil – 2012
Centro Cultural Borges, Argentina – “Rock Seen” – 2011
Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles – 2011
Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany – 2010
Amerika Haus, Munich, Germany – 2010
MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York – “Looking at Music – Side 2” – 2009
Brooklyn Museum of Art – “Who Shot Rock & Roll?” – 2009
Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico – 2008
Morrison Hotel Gallery, New York & Los Angeles – 2008
Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico – 2008
V!P Gallery, Rotterdam, Netherlands – 2007
FAAP University Musuem, Sao Paulo, Brazil – 2007
Blink Gallery, London, England – 2006
Morrison Hotel Gallery, La Jolla & Tokyo, Japan – 2005
A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans – 1997 & 1999
The Govinda Gallery, Washington, DC – 1995
Bob receives numerous invitations to give LECTURE/SLIDE SHOWS, he has presented at:
Annenberg Space for Photography, LA
Oca, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH
Heckscher Museum, Long Island
Worcester Museum of Art, MA
New York University
Savannah College of Art and Design
Hawaii Pacific University
The City University of New York
Tokyo Communications College
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Eastman Kodak New York headquarters
The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC
International Society of Photographers
Gravity Free Convention – 2008 Chicago – Museum of Science and Industry
Gravity Free Convention – 2011 San Francisco – Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Stevenson University, Stevenson, MD
Berlin Central and Regional Library, Berlin, Germany
Tokyo College of Communication Art, Tokyo, Japan
BOOKS by Bob Gruen
“See Hear Yoko” – Bob Gruen and Jody Denberg (Harper Collins, Spring 2015)
“Rock Seen” – Bob Gruen (Harry Abrams, Inc, Fall 2011)
“New York Dolls: Photographs by Bob Gruen” (Harry Abrams Inc, 2008)
“ROCKERS” – Bob Gruen (Cosac Naify, 2007)
“John Lennon: The New York Years” – Bob Gruen (becker&mayer!, 2005)
“The Clash: Photographs by Bob Gruen” (Music Sales, 2004)
“Crossfire Hurricane, 25 Years of the Rolling Stones” – Bob Gruen (Genesis, Signed, Numbered Edition, 1998)
“Sometime in New York City” – Bob Gruen with Yoko Ono (Genesis, Signed, Numbered Edition, 1995)
“Chaos, the Sex Pistols” – Bob Gruen (Music Sales, 1991)
Bob’s book, “John Lennon, the New York Years,” was published in the fall of 2005. Publisher’s Weekly review stated, “….Gruen is THE world’s best rock and roll photographer …from the legendary shot of Lennon on a rooftop clad in the now iconic New York t-shirt to a heart-wrenching shot of a young Sean Lennon curled up in Yoko’s bed not long after John’s murder, both Lennon’s and Gruen’s geniuses are exhibited here.”
Her Justice Award For His Commitment To Access To Justice For All – 2015
John Lennon Real Love Award – 2014
Long Island Music Hall Of Fame Inductee – 2010
Great Neck Arts Center Artist of Distinction Award – 2007
International Society of Photographers Outstanding Achievement Award – 2007
MOJO Classic Image Award – 2004