the Backroom

Ronnie Wood’s 35th Anniversary Exhibition at Govinda Gallery!

by Chris Murray on December 5, 2022  |  Leave a Comment »

It was 35 years ago today that guitarist extroadinaire Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones had his first exhibition in America at Govinda Gallery. The occasion was also the launch of Ronnie’s first book The Works (Harper & Row). Ronnie spent two days at Govinda and it was a blast! The afternoon a day before the exhibition’s opening Ronnie signed copies of The Works at Govinda and the line to see him went all the way down 34th street in Georgetown, and around the corner. Ronnie was most gracious and his fans loved meeting him.

Ronnie Wood signing copies of The Works. Govinda Gallery director Chris Murray next to Ronnie. December 4th, 1987.  © Govinda Gallery Archive

The poster for Ronnie Wood’s exhibition and book signing, inscribed “4 Chris and the GOVINDA.”

Chris Murray introducing Ronnie Wood to Washington Post music critic, Richard Harrington. It was a great night at Govinda Gallery. Photograph by Peter Crook.

The 70s from Ronnie Wood’s Decades series. David Bowie, Rod Stewart, John Lydon.

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Jimi Hendrix’s 80th Birthday

by Patrick Pearse on November 27, 2022  |  Leave a Comment »

Jimi Hendrix at Mason’s Yard, London, 1967. © Gered Mankowitz.

Today would be Jimi Hendrix’s 80th birthday. Jimi was the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ at what he did. Here is a link to John Kelly’s story in the Washington Post about Govinda Gallery director Chris Murray’s evening with Jimi Hendrix, as well as Murray’s post from The Back Room in 2018 with additional images for Hendrix fans. Happy birthday Jimi!

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Happy Birthday Alfred Wertheimer!

by Chris Murray on November 16, 2022  |  Leave a Comment »

Today would be photographer and filmmaker Alfred Wertheimer’s 93rd birthday. My 20 years working with Alfred was the most productive collaboration I had with a photographer. We published four major books together and I curated over 20 exhibitions of his photographs in museums and galleries. His photographs of Elvis Presley are simply the best ever taken of an American musical artist. Happy Birthday Alfred!

The Kiss. Photograph by Alfred Wertheimer.

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Sound & Vision, Elvis and Junior Marvin at 1310 Kitchen & Bar!

by Patrick Pearse on October 21, 2022  |  Comments Off on Sound & Vision, Elvis and Junior Marvin at 1310 Kitchen & Bar!

Last week Jenn Crovato, Chef extraordinaire and proprietor of 1310 Kitchen & Bar in Georgetown, Washington DC, hosted Sound & Vision Monumental Rock & Roll Photography featuring an illustrated talk and book signing with Chris Murray, Director of Govinda Gallery.  The event also featured food favored by many of the music icons seen in the Sound & Vision presentation. The event was fully subscribed, and everyone had a great time.

Chris Murray speaking at restaurant 1310 in Georgetown

Elvis Presley, 1956, NYC by Alfred Wertheimer.

Everyone who attended was knocked out by the surprise guest Junior Marvin, lead guitar with Bob Marley & The Wailers, a friend of Chris Murray and Govinda Gallery.

Peter Goldstone who co-organized the Sound & Vision presentation, with his new friend Junior Marvin.

Bob Marley by Kate Simon.

Scott Peters from True Fire being introduced to Junior Marvin by Chris Murray.

Classic Jimi by Gered Mankowitz.

After the presentation there was a book signing for the guests featuring the just published Elvis (Taschen, 2022) co-authored by Chris Murray with Alfred Wertheimer featuring his legendary photographs of Elvis Presley in 1956. Other titles included in the signing also co-authored by Murray were Bob Dylan NYC 1961-1964 (Rizzoli) featuring Ted Russell’s photographs and Patti Smith American Artist (Insight Editions), featuring Frank Stefanko’s photographs.

Govinda Gallery’s David Murray and Fabiola Castro, ready for the book signing.

Madonna by Claude Gassian.

Murray signing books.

Patti Smith by Frank Stefanko.

Music fan Sarah Leggin having her copy of Elvis signed.

Tupac Shakur by Danny Clinch.

After the show… L to R.. Junior Marvin, David Murray, Fabiola Castro, Carlotta Hester, Chris Murray, Peter Goldstone, and Jenn Crovato.

Beatles Pillow Fight by Harry Benson.

Sound & Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography began at The Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia and travelled to six other museums. The photographers featured in that exhibition and in Murray’s talk are Danny Clinch, Harry Benson, Joel Brodsky, Barry Feinstein, Claude Gassian, Greg Gorman, Art Kane, Daniel Kramer, Gered Mankowitz, Jonathan Mannion, Jim Marshall, Mick Rock, Mark Seliger, Kate Simon, Pennie Smith, Frank Stefanko, Jurgen Vollmer, Dick Waterman, Alfred Wertheimer, and Baron Wolman. 

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Douglas Kirkland 1934-2022

by Chris Murray on October 13, 2022  |  Comments Off on Douglas Kirkland 1934-2022

Jack Duganne, Chris Murray, Douglas Kirkland, and Mac Holbert at Nash Editions with Marilyn Monroe proofs, Manhattan Beach, California, 1992.

I was moved when I heard the news of Douglas Kirkland’s passing. Kirkland had a very significant impact on Govinda Gallery and our photography program.

Douglas Kirkland and Chris Murray at the Light Years opening at Govinda Gallery in April of 1990.

It was my great honor to host Kirkland’s first two exhibitions at Govinda Gallery, Light Years in the spring of 1990 and Icons in the fall of 1993. Light Years launched Kirkland’s book of the same name and that exhibition featured portraits of Dustin Hoffman, Ann Margaret, Catherine Deneuve, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and many more.

Kirkland’s second exhibition at Govinda Gallery, Icons, was the first exhibit anywhere that exclusively featured pigment prints. Not only is Douglas Kirkland a great photographer, he is also a pioneer of the pigment printing methods that have now been embraced by photographers and artists worldwide.

After Kirkland’s Light Years exhibition I was enthusiastic to publish a portfolio of Kirkland’s unforgettable Marilyn Monroe photographs. Govinda Gallery has published photographic portfolios for a number of artists and I knew that a portfolio of Kirkland’s Marilyn Monroe photographs would be well regarded.

Kirkland’s photographs of Marilyn Monroe were so sensitive and beautiful that traditional photographic printing methods did not do those compelling images justice. Kirkland had met musical artist and photographer Graham Nash at a party and told me that Nash was soon opening up a fine art print making studio featuring a new method of making prints. He suggested we consider this new process for our portfolio project. I flew to Los Angeles and met up with Kirkland and we went to visit Nash Editions in Manhattan Beach, which had not yet opened for business.

Douglas Kirkland with the first Marilyn Monroe proof at Nash Editions, Manhattan Beach, California, 1992.

We met with Mac Holbert and Jack Duganne, the master printers who first worked at Nash Editions and we produced proofs of Kirkland’s photos of Marilyn Monroe. They were so beautiful that with great enthusiasm we had the portfolios printed at Nash Editions in 1992. That portfolio was the first job at Nash Editions, the studio that pioneered pigment printing. Graham Nash had started printing his own photos there and the studio had experimented with a number of artists as they started to get their machines running. But the portfolio of Douglas Kirkland’s Marilyn Monroe photographs that Govinda Gallery published was the first paid and complete project to come out of Nash Editions.

Mac Holbert of Nash Editions, Manhattan Beach, California, 1992.

Jack Duganne operating the printer at Nash Editions, 1992.

Douglas Kirkland, Jack Duganne, and Francoise Kirkland at Nash Editions, 1992.

My sympathy to Francoise Kirkland, his muse, wife and partner, and to Douglas Kirkland’s family.

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Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Ted Russell and Tulsa!

by Chris Murray on October 6, 2022  |  3 Comments »

I was most fortunate to be invited to the V.I.P. opening of the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. What an extraordinary three days it was. Hats off to the George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa which acquired Dylan’s remarkable archive and built a brilliant museum to house and display it, as well as developing educational programs.

Govinda Gallery Director Chris Murray in Tulsa.


Tulsa Hotel Room.


The inaugural exhibition features Ted Russell’s photographs of Dylan from 1963-1964 in New York City in the first section titled “Chimes of Freedom”. The exhibition and the museum are beautifully curated. I was in awe.




“Chimes of Freedom” working draft. Written in Bob Dylan’s hand on stationary from Toronto’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in late January/early February 1964.


Ted Russell’s photo of Bob Dylan in his apartment on 4th Street.



Exhibition label text for Ted Russell’s contact sheet.


The Kaiser Family Foundation had opened the Woody Guthrie Center in 2013 in Tulsa.  Guthrie was from Oklahoma. The Bob Dylan Center is next door to the Woody Guthrie Center, and with over 100,000 items from Dylan’s personal archive, it is well worth a visit to Tulsa to see the Dylan and Guthrie Centers.

The Dylan Center also arranged three concerts during four days of the opening celebration with Mavis Staples, Patti Smith and Elvis Costello. I got to see Patti Smith and her band open her show with a mesmerizing a cappella performance of “Chimes of Freedom,” and the next day Elvis Costello and his band put on a concert not to be forgotten, all as guests of The Kaiser Family Foundation.


The legendary Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, built in 1924.


Patti Smith reciting Bob Dylan’s song “Chimes of Freedom” to open her concert at Cain’s Ballroom.


Elvis Costello in concert at Cain’s Ballroom.


The legendary Charlie Sexton performing with Elvis Costello at Cain’s Ballroom.Sexton played in Bob Dylan’s band for many years.


Daniel Kramer’s photographs of Bob Dylan, used as publicity photos. Daniel Kramer’s first exhibition of his photographs was at Govinda Gallery.


Suit worn by Dylan in the film, Masked and Anonymous. Abigail Murray was the costume designer for Masked and Anonymous.


Andy Leach, the Director of the Library and Archive at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Govinda Gallery Director Chris Murray at Cain’s Ballroom.


Postcard from George Harrison to his friend Bob Dylan.


I was so glad to see Ted Russell’s book of photos, published by Rizzoli, in the library of the Bob Dylan Center, on the same shelf with Clinton Heylin’s remarkable biography of Bob Dylan.


Left to right, Chris Murray, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Bill Pagel, Mitch Blank, and Clinton Heylin, outside Cain’s Ballroom.


The BOK Center in Tulsa lights up with “BOB”!


I would like to express my appreciation to Mark Davidson, Douglas Brinkley, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Clinton Heylin, Bill Pagel, Bobby Livingston, Steven Jenkins, Jessica McKenzie, Mitch Blank, and Jeff Friedman. And to Bob Dylan.

All photos by Carlotta Hester and Chris Murray.

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Elvis, Taschen and Alfred Wertheimer

by Chris Murray on September 13, 2022  |  Comments Off on Elvis, Taschen and Alfred Wertheimer

Title Page from Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll, (Taschen 2022)  Created by Hatch Show Print.

I was delighted when Taschen published Elvis And The Birth Of Rock And Roll, the last of the four books I co-authored with Alfred Wertheimer of his extraordinary photographs of Elvis Presley. Released a few weeks ago on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley passing, the timing also coincided with Baz Luhrmann’s film ELVIS. I saw the film and it is remarkable. I was told by an insider that Austin Butler who portrayed Elvis in the movie, had a copy of Elvis at 21 by his bedside during the film’s shooting, the first book I did with Wertheimer of his photographs.

Steve Allen Show rehearsal, New York City, June 29, 1956. By Alfred Wertheimer.

The photograph above was recreated in the ELVIS film, with some color added by Baz Luhrmann. This is the very same photograph I saw on the cover of Peter Guralnick’s biography of Elvis, Last Train To Memphis, which first led to me contacting Alfred Wertheimer and was the start of a great twenty year working relationship and friendship.

Starburst, Memphis, July 4, 1956. By Alfred Wertheimer.

One day I asked Alfred what his favorite photo was that he took of Elvis. The photo above, “Starburst,” is the image he told me he enjoyed the most. That photograph was also referred to in Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS film and is in the new Taschen book.

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The Amazing Bob Dylan Retrospectrum Exhibition

by Chris Murray on May 4, 2022  |  1 Comment »

I went to see the extraordinary exhibition of Bob Dylan’s pantings, drawings, and iron works at the Frost Museum in Miami. I was blown away by Dylan’s art. Here are some examples of Dylan’s works from that exhibition.

This week, the Bob Dylan Center opens in Tulsa, Oklahoma with its inaugural exhibition featuring material from Bob Dylan’s archive.

About the Bob Dylan Center

Designed by Olson Kundig, the Bob Dylan Center will house and exhibit more than 100,000 exclusive cultural treasures created and owned by Bob Dylan over seven decades. These include handwritten lyric manuscripts to some of the world’s most treasured songs, previously unreleased recordings, never-before-seen film performances, rare and unseen photographs, visual art and other priceless items spanning Dylan’s unparalleled career as one of the world’s most important cultural figures.

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Chris Makos’ New Book of Warhol Modeling Photos

by Chris Murray on April 28, 2022  |  3 Comments »

Christopher Makos, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 1984. Photo by Chris Murray.

I went to NYC for the launch of Christopher Makos’ just published book Andy Warhol Modeling Portfolio (G Editions). The launch took place at the legendary Strand Bookstore and Vincent Fremont moderated a discussion of the book with Makos. Christopher’s energy is legendary and when Fremont came out of the ‘backstage’ area with Makos to start the program he looked at me and said “I’m already exhausted!” It was a lively program and Christopher signed books for everyone.

The book cover of Andy Modeling Portfolio (G Editions, 2022).

Makos introduced me to contemporary photography. He has also had six major one person exhibitions at Govinda Gallery, including Christopher Makos, Photographs (May 1981), War Games (November 1984), Architecture and Design (September 1986), Photographs of Andy Warhol (June 1989), Paintings and Prints (May 1990), and Icons, Portraits, and Man Ray (September 1991). His work was also featured in The Cool and The Crazy: Images of Punk (October 1996)  and the Govinda Gallery Twenty-fifth Anniversary Retrospective Exhibition (September 2000).

Supermodel Esme Marshall and Christopher Makos, NYC, 1982. Photo by Chris Murray.

Govinda Gallery also had the pleasure of publishing two major projects of Makos’ silkscreens and paintings, Icons and Man Ray.

Portrait of Andy Warhol by Christopher Makos. Acrylic on canvas, 1990.

Christopher Makos’ work is available through Govinda Gallery. Enjoy the slide show of Christopher Makos’ photographs on our home page, selected by Govinda Gallery’s Fabiola Castro.

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Christopher Makos

by Roberto Rodriguez on April 12, 2022  |  Comments Off on Christopher Makos

Christopher Makos burst onto the photography scene in 1977. Andy Warhol, his good friend and frequent portrait subject, called Makos “the most modern photographer in America.” His photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Tate Modern in London, Govinda Gallery in Washington, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the IVAM in Valencia (Spain), and the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. His pictures have appeared in magazines and newspapers, including Paris Match and Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several important books, including Warhol/Makos In Context (2007), Andy Warhol China 1982 (2007) and Christopher Makos Polaroids (2009).

Christopher Makos’ photos are available through Govinda Gallery


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