the Backroom

Alexandra Pelosi, HBO, Oksana Markarova and The National Archives

by Chris Murray on January 12, 2023  |  Comments Off on Alexandra Pelosi, HBO, Oksana Markarova and The National Archives

I was invited to the HBO screening at The National Archives of Alexandra Pelosi’s latest film, Pelosi In The House. I am a fan of documentary films and Alexandra Pelosi has made 15 of them, including Journeys with George (which was nominated for 6 Grammy’s), Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County, and The Words That Built America, among others. Alexandra is my favorite documentary filmmaker.

After the screening there was a wonderful reception at the National Archives where I met the Ambassador from Ukraine, Oksana Markarova, along with filmmaker Pelosi, two extraordinary women. It was a compelling evening.

Left to right: Alexandra Pelosi, Chris Murray and Ambassador Markarova. Photo by Carlotta Hester.

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Henry Grossman 1937-2022

by Chris Murray on January 6, 2023  |  Comments Off on Henry Grossman 1937-2022

Govinda Gallery was pleased to present Kaleidoscope Eyes: A Day in the Life of Sgt. Pepper in 2008, featuring Henry Grossman’s rarely-seen photographs of The Beatles during the recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band, arguably the most iconic and influential album of all time. This is the first exhibition of Henry Grossman’s remarkable photographs of The Beatles.

Taken during a single night’s session–as the band recorded “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”—these photographs offer a compelling portrait of four of the most popular and publicized figures of the 20th century. Grossman’s uniquely intimate account documents The Beatles’ captivating individual personalities while attesting to their collaborative power at their creative peak.

Henry Grossman’s career began in the early 1960s. As a contributing photographer for TimeLifeNewsweek, and People Magazine, Grossman covered a variety of important figures, including Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Nelson Mandela, Duke Ellington and Truman Capote. Grossman gained unprecedented access to President John F. Kennedy in the White House and abroad. Through his work he also befriended The Beatles and went to Abbey Road Studios to photograph them during the legendary Sgt. Pepper session.

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GAELIA! Donovan’s Just-Released Album Featuring David Gilmour, Nigel Kennedy, Sharon Shannon and More

by Chris Murray on December 14, 2022  |  Comments Off on GAELIA! Donovan’s Just-Released Album Featuring David Gilmour, Nigel Kennedy, Sharon Shannon and More

Donovan’s latest album GAELIA is remarkable. A great tribute to his Gaelic-Irish roots. The amazing David Gilmour is featured on the single, “Rock On,” along with a bounty of other musical artists joining Donovan on this beautiful CD.

Enjoy the album cover visuals, as well as the vintage photos of Donovan and David Gilmour below.

Here is a link to a sample of all the songs via Donovan’s website, where one can also order the CD.


Donovan by Baron Wolman, 1968. From the photo session for the first interview in Rolling Stone Magazine.


David Gilmour by Barrie Wentzel, 1975.

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Carlotta Hester and Tom Meyer Featured in New Addison/Ripley Exhibition

by Chris Murray on December 8, 2022  |  Comments Off on Carlotta Hester and Tom Meyer Featured in New Addison/Ripley Exhibition

Addison/Ripley Fine Arts in Georgetown are opening a compelling exhibition this Saturday called ART + NFT. This innovative exhibition features 20 artists, with each artist exhibiting an original work along with an NFT of that work. It is sure to be a dynamic exhibition.

Two of our favorite artists are included in the exhibition, Tom Meyer and Carlotta Hester. The opening is this Saturday, December 10, from 5 to 7pm.

Carlotta Hester, Ritual Reaction, 2022.

Tom Meyer, Back Room Deal, 2020.

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

by Chris Murray on December 5, 2022  |  Comments Off on Ronnie Wood’s 35th Anniversary Exhibition at Govinda Gallery!

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  |  Comments Off on Jimi Hendrix’s 80th Birthday

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  |  Comments Off on Happy Birthday Alfred Wertheimer!

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  |  Comments Off on Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Ted Russell and Tulsa!

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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