ArtBeat: “Rock & Roll Icons: Photographs by Patrick Harbron” @ Albany Institute of History & Art

Bruce Springsteen photographed by Patrick Harbron
Patrick Harbron's photograph of Bruce Springsteen @ Albany Institute of History & Art

By Greg Haymes
Photographs by Patrick Harbron, Jim Gilbert

Billy Joel
Elton John
Eric Clapton
David Bowie
Debbie Harry

Rock & Roll royalty, all. And all are featured in “Rock & Roll Icons: Photographs by Patrick Harbron,” the sprawling exhibition of concert and portrait photography by Patrick Harbron on view through Sunday, February 12 at the Albany Institute of History & Art.

“As disparate as some of these artists seem, they all share the common ideal that rock & roll is made up of many faces, voices and influences,” Harbron explains. “Everybody’s love of rock & roll is a personal choice. I couldn’t do justice to just one artist or the entire genre at once, so this is rock & roll from my point of view.”

And while his subjects range from B.B. King to Queen, Harbron singled out a few as his focus. “I selected The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Kiss for special attention because of their place in music and longevity,” he says. “They are vastly different from one another but share a common bond as rock & roll performers and artists.”

Harbron is a native of Toronto, where he shot the majority of the photos in the exhibit at venues that range from arenas (Maple Leaf Gardens) to clubs (El Mocombo).

This exhibition showcases more than 70 photographs that Harbron took during a 15-year span from the ’70s-’90s, along with concert and promotional posters, ticket stubs, photo passes and other ephemera that he collected throughout his career.

One of the Local 518 connections in the show is his album cover for the 1984 compilation Metal for Breakfast, which features headbanging selections by Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Saxon, Quiet Riot and Albany’s own Blotto, among others. The album was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Album Graphics.

In addition, the exhibit features several iconic tools of the rock & roll trade, including a pair of Neal Peart’s drumsticks and guitars from Les Paul, Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. (Well, in Townshend’s case, it’s really just the remnants of his guitar…)

“Rock & Roll Icons: Photographs by Patrick Harbron” is on view at the Albany Institute of History & Art through Sunday, February 12. Admission is $10; $8 seniors & students; $6 children ages 6-12; free for children under age 6. Admission is free on Monday (January 16) and from 5-8pm on Thursdays.

Greg Haymes and Patrick Harbron
Greg Haymes and Patrick Harbron (photo by Jim Gilbert)

In conjunction with the “Rock & Roll Icons” exhibit, the Albany Institute of History & Art is presenting a number of other special events. Here’s a round-up:

panel discussion with Local 518 music scene’s John Cooper (iHeartMedia), Greg Haymes (, Michael Eck (musician/music writer) and Paul Rapp (musician/The Alt).
Sunday (January 15), 2pm
FREE with museum admission

ROCK/DOCS (at the Madison Theater)
film “Gimme Shelter” with introductory talk by Professor Andrew Lee, College of St. Rose
Thursday (January 19), 7pm
Tickets: $10; $8 students & seniors

family hands-on workshop with percussionist Brian Melick
Sunday, January 22, 1pm
$5 per child; register online

ROCK/DOCS (at the Madison Theater)
film “A Band Called Death” (2012)
Thursday (January 26), 7pm
Tickets: $10; $8 students & seniors

lecture by Dr. Mary Davis, Dean of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Sunday, January 29, 2pm
FREE with museum admission

family friendly rock & roll party
Friday, February 3, 5pm
FREE admission

lecture with Professor Andrew Lee of the College of St. Rose
Sunday, February 5, 2pm
FREE with museum admission

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