A new exhibit at Experience Music Project amps up the volume even more at the beloved Seattle museum, located just steps from the iconic Space Needle. The West Coast premiere of Spectacle: The Music Video opens to the public May 17 and will run through January 4, 2015.
The first of its kind, the vibrant and interactive exhibit comes straight from an Australian stint to the Pacific Northwest to offer curious folks a behind-the-scenes glimpse of seminal moments in music video history. (Think featured talents from Devo, Beastie Boys, Michael Jackson and Madonna to OK Go and Lady Gaga.)
Take a walk down music video memory lane with props like these from OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass" — Photo courtesy of EMP Museum
The exhibit mixes interactive installations, recreated sets, projections, videos, objects and immersive environments to accompany visitors on a spirited walk down memory lane. The first gallery follows the genre's evolution from early films the Beatles produced in 1964-65 to French scopitones and far beyond. Visitors will learn that, initially, listeners would pop money in a jukebox to hear tunes meant to accompany the footage.
Guests learn about milestones like the video made for Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 1974 and the launch of MTV in 1981, which initially took over New Jersey televisions before permeating the entire country.
Other highlights of the exhibition include the paint guns and jump suits used in the OK Go video “This Too Shall Pass,” polaroids from The Talking Heads’ video "Road to Nowhere,” the original comic book and illustrations from A-ha’s 1984 “Take on Me” and Bjork’s headpiece and helmet created for the video “Wanderlust.” (You can take a 3D adventure in the Bjork wing.)
In total, the exhibit showcases 300-plus videos ranging from historic “soundies” to MTV classics.
Local hero Macklemore let the museum borrow the coat worn in his video for "Can't Hold Us" — Photo courtesy of EMP Museum
Exclusive to EMP, a special section in the exhibit has been dedicated to some of Seattle's hottest stars, like the four-time Grammy-winning duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Among many costumes and objects, this corner displays the fur coats worn in their "Thrift Shop" video, "The Heist" flag and Macklemore’s fur jacket and wolf hat from "Can’t Hold Us."
Visitors can hear interviews with local fans of this duo, and a map documents sites that appeared in their videos–from Gas Works Park to the Unicorn bar in Capitol Hill. At the end, visitors, even get the chance to throw on some fur to pose with "Macklemore" themselves.
Visitors can spend hours wandering the different rooms; there's the Agent Provocateur corner, where only adults can peek through highly-placed peep holes to watch racier videos, and the Epic theater room, where longer-form pieces (Michael Jackson's "Thriller," for example) roll across the supersize screen.
There's no doubt: EMP truly rocks it with this new exhibition.