About | Bob Gruen
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About Bob

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.

Bob Gruen Interview by Carlo McCormick (originally posted in The New York Trash)


Gary Lichtenstein Editions, NYC – “The Rock ‘N’ Roll Show”– 2022
Grand Palais éphémère, Paris, France – “Paris Photo”– 2022
D’Stassi Art, London, UK – 2022
West Chelsea Contemporary Arts, Austin, TX – 2022
Morrison Hotel Gallery at Sunset Marquis, Los Angeles, CA – 2022
Museu da Imagem e do Som, Sao Paulo, Brazil – “John Lennon em Nova York por Bob Gruen” – 2020
Galerie de la Clé, Paris, France – “P/CAS” – 2019
Art Lovers Gallery, Kelowna, Canada – “Bob Gruen” – 2019
72 Gallery, NYC – “Summer & Smoke” – 2019
La Galerie de l’Instant, Paris, France – “MUSIC!” – 2019
Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju, South Korea – “Imagine John Lennon” – 2019
Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ – “Bob Gruen: Rock Seen” – 2019
Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK – “Double Fantasy: John & Yoko” – 2019
Somerset House, London, UK – “Photo London” – 2019
Bombay Dive Bar, Los Angeles, CA – “Frieze LA” – 2019
Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco – “Rock Seen: Vintage Photographs by Bob Gruen” – 2019
Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba – “Rock & Roll” – 2018
Hanagaram Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea – 2018
Museum of Sex, New York – “Punk Lust: Raw Provocation, 1974-1984” – 2018
Museum of Art & Design, New York – “Glitter, Grunge & Disco” – 2018
Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver, Canada – 2017
Parko Ikebukoro, Tokyo, Japan – 2017
Pier 94, New York – “Art NY” – 2017
Pearlstein Gallery, Philadelphia, PA – 2017
Espacio Cultural Aldrey, Mar del Plata, Argentina – 2017
220 Cultura Contemporanea, Cordoba City, Argentina – 2017
Centro Metropolitano de Diseno, Buenos Aires, Argentina – 2017
Industria Studio, New York – “Exhibitionism” – 2016
Edition Hotel, New York – 2016
Queens Museum, New York – 2016
Saatchi Gallery, London – “Exhibitionism” – 2016
Ilon Gallery, New York – 2016
Samuel Owen Gallery, Greenwich, CT – 2016
Sotheby’s S/2 Gallery, London – “Rock/Style” – 2015
The Beatles Story Museum, Liverpool, England – 2015
Liss Gallery, Toronto, Canada – 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019 & 2022
Kaapelitehdas / Pannuhalli, Helsinki, Finland – 2015
Huntingdon Gallery, London – 2014
Pop Gallery, New York – 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, New York – “Who Shot Rock & Roll?” – 2009 & “David Bowie Is” – 2018
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, Los Angeles, CA
Oca, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH
Heckscher Museum, Long Island, NY
Worcester Museum of Art, Worcester, MA
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
New York University, NYC
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, HI
The City University of New York, NYC
Tokyo Communications College, Tokyo, Japan
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH
Eastman Kodak headquarters, Rochester, NY
The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC
International Society of Photographers, NYC
Gravity Free Convention (2008) at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL
Gravity Free Convention (2011) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Stevenson University, Stevenson, MD
Berlin Central and Regional Library, Berlin, Germany
Tokyo College of Communication Art, Tokyo, Japan
Museum of Arts and Design, NYC
Morrison Hotel Gallery, NYC
Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ
Museu da Imagem e do Som, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Time Out Market, Brooklyn, NY
Rough Trade, NYC
Fotografiska Museum of Photography, NYC
Morrison Hotel Gallery at Sunset Marquis, Los Angeles, CA
West Chelsea Contemporary Arts, Austin, TX
D’Stassi Art, London, UK
Liss Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Pitterich Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA

BOOKS by Bob Gruen

“Right Place, Right Time: The Life of A Rock & Roll Photographer” (Harry Abrams, Inc, October 2020)
“Green Day: Photographs by Bob Gruen” (Harry Abrams, Inc, August 2019)
“See Hear Yoko” – Bob Gruen and Jody Denberg (Harper Collins, Spring 2015)
“Rock Seen” – Bob Gruen (Harry Abrams, Inc, Fall 2011 & Smash Corp, 2017 – Japanese Edition)
“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